November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving And The Library

I attended my second WCLS trustee’s meeting a couple of weeks ago. The main topic was the library budget and the contract with the library employee’s union. The contract is important because personnel accounts for nearly three quarters of the library expenditures. Library people have character. The negotiations were civil — unlike the histrionics to the south of us involving a certain well-publicized union contract rejection. I think the library results will prove to be satisfying to everyone.

The basics of operating WCLS are still new to me. It’s easy to forget that keeping the library staffed with the helpful people who unlock the value of the library to all comers is a very important job. Moving books as they are requested and returned from our spread out branches takes manpower and coordination.

I sympathize with skeptics who might wonder why buying books and other content is not more than a quarter of the budget. That seems to make sense, but it ignores something mission critical. A library full of books but lacking the people to make the books accessible is one hand clapping. It consumes resources, but there is no sound. A library is a service that puts books and book-related resources into people’s hands. That takes good people as well as good books.

Putting books into hands, especially hands that would not ordinarily have books, is the real job of the library. This is a noble thing and something worth being thankful for in this season of giving thanks.

1 comment to Thanksgiving And The Library

  • Christine Perkins

    We at the library are thankful for thoughtful, passionate trustees like you who volunteer their time in support of the library mission. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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