To be sure, there is always a good side to every new change and challenge, so let me start out with the good news where the Renton Public Library is concerned. After losing the vote to save our local library and Renton joining the ranks of the King County Library System, our library has gotten extended hours, access to the stacks at any KCLS branch (and there are over 40 of them) and my personal favorite, the ability to apply for a Seattle Public Library card for free (that's a $75 savings, folks.)
KCLS system will finally be fully integrated with the Renton Public Library's system by this Monday, so all interested can get the new hybrid card, allowing you to check out books from KCLS and Renton's two branches. It is one of the cooler things to come out of this venture - it has a photo of our statue seen above on it and remains the same color of green. I plan to get right in there at the beginning of next week to get mine. I am glad that this transition is almost to an end. It didn't look like fun for anyone.
Now for the bad. The library has become - well, loud. You can use your cell phone and no offense, but the days of the quiet "shushing" librarian are gone. Some of them are the worst culprits and I kinda liked it when you had to be considerate of others who were reading and such.
Soon there will be a total of 28 computers (kinda good) and a lot of tables will be taken out. Guess it's more important to take your books elsewhere and browse.
You may notice that the electronic stanchions that stood at the entrance and exit have been removed and the books are no longer scanned in that fashion to prevent theft. Not the way KCLS does business. DVD's will soon be left out on the shelves, cases open, and any theft of stock from the stacks comes under the "acceptable loss" terms of the budget. Man - I think they should have just kept those electronic babies up. Keep everyone on their best behavior if you know what I mean. I hate having to pay taxes for books you know are gonna walk more frequently now. I even hate writing this and revealing the truth of the less than safe status of our books.
Now for the UGLY. These are all the books that I saw, torn apart by human hands, and left in the recycling bin outside the library's side door today. This container is FULL. Not left to the new secondhand bookstore that Renton finally saw it's doors open last week. Not for the much diminished sale shelves of books the library sets out, and not for Renton River Days when many of us have fond memories of buying discarded library books with relish.
There are comment forms on the head librarian's desk should you find anything you would like to see addressed heard and considered. I am going to fill one out today. I miss my local librarians, who now have schedules that force them to work in other branches instead of just at ours (the "cluster system is what it is called and as yet, I don't see the merits of it) and whom seem to be rather tentatively weathering the changing of the guard. Things seem to have gone from a generous "we" to a insular "ME" in the way things are run. Sigh.
I guess it just sucks not to have as much say in our local library. I wish that weren't the case. I am still available for "silver lining" moments. Chin up and all. I'll keep you posted.
Renton Public Library
100 Mill Avenue South
Renton, WA 98057
Monday to Thursday: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm