Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Library Updates and Love

Through out the summer, there has been an alarming discussion about the status of the Renton Public Library and the obvious need to secure more funds to update our library system. In 2006, it seems that a 20 year master plan was commissioned, with two sources, Miriam Pollack & Associates and Tina Roose of Roose Research, who researched the library's condition and concluded that the library should remain autonomous and raise funds to service the needs of a fast growing city population (annexations have brought us to nearly a population of 83,000 here in Renton). What concerns me, as we now know that voters will be weighing in on whether the library will join the King County Library System (KCLS) since it was decided in city council meetings to put it to the public to decide, is why we are not being given a better cost analysis break down about the funds that the taxpayer will be liable for whether or not we join KCLS. At the end of the day, money will be needed. Where is our real incentive to join KCLS (outside of the fact that our bill for using their services has increased dramatically recently), because we all must acknowledge that there will be price tag to all of this, even if we let someone else run our library it will not clear up the bill we must face for improving our library services.

"Annexing means King County Library System would take over Renton’s library services. If that happens, Renton residents would get better facilities, resources and services than exist in the current Renton Public Library. But according to the master plan, joining would also mean a loss of local control and services geared specifically to Renton, probable higher taxes, and the possibility that either the downtown or Highlands library would close."
Renton Reporter 8/15/09

My friend and cohort in blogging crime, Miss Lynar of All About Renton, took the time to read the 80 some page master plan for the library and proceeded to put a poll on her blog to see how people felt at just an instinctual level about whether or not to have the library remain a "Renton" concern (ie not join KCLS). The response was dismal.

For many of us, the library is a weekly, sometimes daily ritual. Books are a passion and the friendly and familiar library staff an added bonus that makes the trip in all the better. It is what living in a town that has a small town feel is all about - a sense of community, a sense of belonging and of having a place in your own shared world that matters.

My fear is that we will wake up one day and realize that we let a great opportunity to maintain our connection to our community, through our library resources, slip away. It will be too late to reclaim what the rest of the world is so easily seeing erode away - human connection, programs that are geared to us and not processed and implemented miles away from our daily reality, a friendly librarian face that knows our name, the books and DVDs we like to borrow and greets us with a smile when we head their way.

Today begins the National Library Card Sign-Up Month and if you don't have a tendency to borrow books and DVDs, maybe it is time that you started. You need a valid driver's license that has your current Renton address on it, or a photo id with a utility bill, or personal check, or something official that states your Renton residency. Since the Renton Library also has reciprocal book exhanges with the King County Library System, you can check out a book if you have a KCLS card or can apply for one if you live inside the KCLS service area, or in King County and outside of the Enumclaw and Seattle city limits. If you are under 18 and not emancipated, you have to have help with your parents/guardians to get your card. Find more facts here.

Update on the Library Vandalism of 6/24:

As far as the library goes, we have a suspect identified in the burglary at the library and there is probably cause to arrest him at this time. He's "dodged" us a couple times and is aware we're looking for him.

Cyndie Parks, Renton Crime Prevention Unit

The Library will be closed September 4th - it's a Furlough day, and in fact the whole city is closing down and taking a day off (trying to cut back on costs).
However, the library will be open on Saturday.
Monday, is a holiday, and the library will also be closed that day, September 7th.
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rcwant2be said...

Prior to moving to N. Renton in Oct 2008 I lived in Skyway, having moved there from MI in July 07. One of the things I liked about living in Skyway is I passed the Skyway library every day. I LOVED "ordering" books online, stopping to pick them up from the hold shelf & checking myself out. I could be in & out in <5 minutes. if you are not way ahead of the curve, hold lists on new items can be very long. You have to request purchase of the item long before it's on the libraries radar if you want to be near the top of the hold list. I got a Renton library card this summer, but honestly don't use it. I still run up the hill to Skyway for my books. Having both the DTR & Skyway branches open should a merge happen would be a redundancy, however closing the DTR branch would be a real bummer considering how unique it is!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you - whichever side we are on regarding the library's future, as you said "why we are not being given a better cost analysis break down about the funds that the taxpayer will be liable for whether or not we join KCLS."
Those for Renton's library scare us with their "new KCLS taxes" argument, but the City's library consultant report has 10's of millions of dollars for keeping and upgrading/replacing our own library.
So where is a head-to-head comparison, that gets past the rhetoric and sales/scare tactics, so we can make an intelligent and informed decision?
Thanks for raising the issue.

Krissie said...

Wait, is the whole city really closing on the 4th? I'm gullible sadly.

allaboutrenton said...

Lady P - I have not forgotten my quest to spread the word about the possible upcoming annexation of the library, we have had visitors. I think that after the November election (go figure some City Council members need to secure their seats before making major waves)we will see a lot of people coming out of the woodwork either for or against the annexation. There will be a lot more information coming from my side of the blogsphere and I will be posting my poll results on Friday.In the meantime let's keep people thinking about the move so the vote does not creep up on them. Keep Our Library Local....

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