Citizens better served by city managing library
March 23, 2011 · 3:45 PM
In observing the process and doing our own research regarding the decisions concerning our library in Enumclaw, we commend the council for the wisdom and courage to investigate further. Our Library is a real jewel for which we are very grateful. People certainly need to notice that going with King County is not going to be free. The city taxes from which money is currently being used for the library are not going to be discontinued, so the King County 50 cents per $1,000 levy will be on top of that. It will cost more money and our community will lose oversight. That doesn’t sound like a bargain at all.
The library is vital to community well-being and quality of life here. So, if it’s going to cost more money to keep it going, why not levy a local tax (for less money than the King County levy) and keep the control within the community? Remember, there is no guarantee that 100 percent of the county library levy on Enumclaw residents will come back to Enumclaw and it could instead be used elsewhere in King County. It is gratifying to walk into our library here and actually find a good selection of books. That’s somewhat a rarity in the world of big business/government libraries. Since we all do live in King County, the Black Diamond library and the Muckleshoot library are easily available to us if we need to access something they have, and in truth – King County residents are already paying for them. We have, and can continue to have, the best of both worlds.
There seems to be a misconception about the availability of books through Enumclaw Library. Our library does have access to the interlibrary loan system of King County (and the whole country for that matter) and requests can be fulfilled with the same books that are available to KCLS. Another point to take into account is the KCLS services 1.2 million people versus our 10,800 people. The King County wait time may be several months, particularly with recent books. The Enumclaw library actually often satisfies requests more promptly.
In our world where immediate gratification seems to be the ultimate criteria, it does take some adjusting of attitude to deal with curtailed library hours, but if that’s the price of independence, surely we can survive. A local levy would likely solve that. Another point: there are approximately 4,754 residences in Enumclaw. A new book costs around $26. We could do some local fund raising. Businesses in town could serve as collections points. If most every household donated at least $10, that’s $40,000. (Obviously, some people could afford much more.) That would buy a lot of books and it would be fun. It would be an effort of which we could be proud.
For the prosperity and success of Enumclaw….
Alan and Jennifer Hannaford