Thursday, November 15, 2007

That's that, now what?

Well, our building study is in our budget, on a narrow vote in the City Council. But narrow or unanimous, we go forward. Now the work starts: we have a plan for our service priorities, and we'll work with some consultants and the community to better understand our facility options and take forward some priority recommendations.

We'll thank those Council members who voted for the library, and ask our supporters to do likewise. We'll keep talking with those who voted against the library, to understand their concerns and help them understand ours. And we'll keep telling the library's story to the community, because a well-informed community will give us better input as we study our building choices.

The long range planning at our neighbor's place in Menasha reinforces the need to keep telling our story. Tasha notes some concerns in her blog:

  • Intelligent people in your community are not using your library.
  • Even more so, they have no idea what a modern library is.
  • They see us as conservative institutions.
  • They see us as insular and unresponsive in the extreme.
  • They believe every librarian fits the stereotype because they don't know or interact with librarians in real life.
  • They believe we don't care, don't want to serve, don't understand society.
While Menasha's concerns are going to be nearly identical to neighboring Appleton's in respect to these perceptions, they're broader than that. This public image fight is one for all of us, touching the whole public library community. It comes home to roost in local planning and local government voting.

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