Friday, April 11, 2008

Fuss (over the) Budget

Ah, the annual prioritizing of budget monies. Everyone has their hand out. The police need more officers, the fire department needs more firefighters, should a dog park take priority over a neighborhood park. All need addressed to be sure.

One area where there was a differing of opinions between council members, however, seemed to be about the library needing additional staff. Our spanking new library with it's views of Tubbs Hill and the lake is apparently quite the hit. According to an article in the Coeur d'Alene Press the new facility is having difficulty meeting public service demands. Okay, I can buy into that. I'm all for people patronizing the library.

Here, however, is the rub. They want to be able to staff a "young adult" room and expand activities to attract teens. On the surface that may sound all fine and dandy. One councilman even feels libraries are more than just books, they're a big community gathering place.

Another is more pragmatic when he states libraries are about books. I'm in agreement with this point of view. We've just dropped a ton of tax payers dollars, not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars in private donations, to bring the Kroc Center to our community. Shouldn't this be the grand gathering place for the community? Especially teens? Or are the membership costs going to be prohibitive for the very people for whom this facility is intended?

The community gathering place has been covered. Kroc Center. If it doesn't supply the need why is it being built? The library has been covered. If anything is increased, shouldn't it be the material for which it is intended? Books?

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