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Commentary: Let's all support the library
The Fresno County Library has had some PR troubles of late, thanks in part to this article from Bill McEwen.
My take: McEwen's story, which focused on the reassignment of historian Bill Secrest Jr., was mostly off the mark and written to flame controversy out of what's essentially a non-issue. True, there has been some contention at the library for awhile now, including unfounded (let me emphasize that) concerns about its weeding processes (that's how it deals with old and unused books in its various collections).
But the fact is, libraries are changing (not unlike many industries). Keeping up with those changes comes at a price (ask anyone who works in a newsroom). The library has gone through a reorganization that affected many (if not most or all) of the librarians and library staff (not just Secrest). People are being asked to do more with less, and people are bound to be upset (again, ask anyone in a newsroom).
I fully understand the idea of human capital. That people are important to any organization and should be used where they will make the most impact. But this outcry, coming from a small, vocal minority, takes attention away from what should be the main goal in the next year: The passage of measure B. Without it, the entire library system (including the beloved California Room) will be decimated.
Which is the implied threat in McEwen's piece.
Just as McEwen says the library must get itself right before the vote, library detractors need to think about the consequences of their actions. If there is a fight to be had here (if there is it's not much of one), now, with the current political environment, may not be the right time to have it so publically.
Full disclosure: I am part of a committee the Library put together to make recommendations on its weeding and collection-management practices. I am also hosting a table at the Friends of the Library Dinner in the Library event (as is McEwen).