Monday, April 19, 2010

SE Library Strategy Meeting for Tuesday, April 20th at 5:30 p.m. at 901 Shelby


LISC gathered a group of leaders from the six neighborhoods impacted by the announced plan to close six public libraries, of which Fountain Square would be one. This was a very healthy and productive discussion and I wanted to share the major points.

First, we discussed what was happening in each neighborhood and discovered we are all engaged and energizing our folks very quickly. Many of us are planning to attend the Library Board of Trustees Meeting today at 3 p.m. at the Library Services Center at 2400 N. Meridian.

Second, we agreed that the Library Board and Staff is not the enemy. They do not want to close libraries, but are forced to by the present financial environment. However, we also agreed that the present cuts are being made on the backs of the poorest neighborhoods with the poorest residents and that this is not acceptable.

Third, we agreed on the following message:

- Ask the Library Board to hold off on making a decision so city leaders can develop other options.
- Emphasize how critical our libraries are to the vitality and life of our neighborhoods.
- Point out that the present cuts are not equitable, largely impacting the most in need of these services. Ask the library to evenly spread the pain of these cuts across the city.
- The closing of libraries isn't a neighborhood issue; it is a city issue.

Finally, we adopted the following next steps:

- Energize people to attend the public forums on May 10th and 12th.
- Collect a group of experts to examine taxing options.
- Collect marketing experts to create a unified message and campaign.
- Seek gap funding to assist the Library until systemic change can happen.
- Organize neighborhoods and involve them in the strategy.
- Ask Library leaders to help inform our strategy.

With this in mind, we are scheduling a SE Library Strategy Meeting for Tuesday, April 20th at 5:30 p.m. at 901 Shelby. At this meeting, we'll share additional information and develop our own plan for participating in these efforts.


Jim Mulholland
SEND Community Building Coordinator

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