Thursday, July 16, 2009

This really frosts my cake...

The online forums in the Post-Crescent (or any online forum, generally) are not always the place for reasoned debate. In particular, the anonymity of the great majority of those who post using "handles" makes it possible for people to say anything without attaching their names to it --and thus taking responsibility for their statements.

I'll let a lot of the things I read there roll off. I'll usually post -- using my name, natch -- if I feel there are some facts lacking that can be readily supplied. Sometimes I just have to take issue, which is the case when I read statements that appear prejudicial. There were two today:

PSY-OPS wrote:
"yuppy [condo] tennants probably wouldn't like mingling with the library's current daytime clientele."
helpusnow wrote:
"food, clothing and shelter are needs-libraries are wants; because poor people"want" a place to hangout i dont feel a "need" to pay for it"
Without even getting into whether education, culture, opportunity and hope are needs (and they are), I felt obligated to speak out on behalf of both poor people and all library users, and posted the following:
There are those who legitimately disagree whether this is a worthwhile project. But it is difficult to accept minimizing the need by belittling those in the community who may be poor or homeless. Yes, the poor, the homeless, the disabled, and the mentally ill use the library.

Many other people use the library in even larger numbers. There are lots of toddlers and babies here every day -- and doctors, housewives, teenagers, senior citizens, judges, business people, students, & mostly just plain folks. It's a place for everyone.

We've had 8,602 people through the doors in the last three-and-a-half days. With this volume of use, this many people, there are occasional problems & all are not solved instantly. But staff and volunteers do a good job of enforcing the basic common sense rule: keep it nice for everybody.

It's a lousy argument to say the library includes people to look down on & thus is unworthy of support.

Terry Dawson

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