Sunday, April 29, 2012

I (HEART) My Library!

"To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine."  
- Benjamin Franklin, founder of our first public library
I don't have the technical skill to display an actual red heart in the title, but I did buy a bumper sticker today at the annual Friends of the Library meeting at the Bellingham Public Library.

After an extended absence, I was motivated to attend this brief meeting to hear remarks by our new Mayor Kelli Linville and reconnect with some folks I used to spend time with, including members of the Library Board, of which I was a part for 5 years.

But, the main reason I went was because there is unfinished business concerning the Library that I feel responsible for helping to get done.
We still need a new Library!
And, this will take significant public process, creative ideas and reliable funding solutions to achieve.

Two ideas are essential; prioritizing this project with public approval and finding a method that will guarantee public acceptance and support.

First, prioritizing sounds like a simple thing, but it isn't because of competing priorities and limited funding. Here's an excerpt from a past blog:
Some may remember the well-intended, but tepid exercise the City of Bellingham underwent a few years ago. It was called 'Priorities of Government' [POG]. and while most elected officials gave it lip service as 'an interesting concept', not many really wanted to seriously touch it to implement its clear implications. Believe me, I know - I was there!
Anyway, it's too bad that an absolute crisis seems absolutely needed for governments to seriously confront such intractable questions as defining what is necessary, fair and sustainable as public policy. Unfortunately -or otherwise- that is the situation we find ourself now.
Second, guaranteeing public support means going to the trouble of finding an effective method and then following it! Again, here's an excerpt from a past blog:
Some years ago the City engaged Drs. Hans and Ann-Marie Bleiker to conduct training sessions on how to achieve 'Systematic Development of Informed Consent' on major projects important to our community. The method was time-intensive, but often much more effective than the usual fumbling efforts. But, predictably, use of the Bleiker method was largely ignored, with few exceptions.  
For those who may be interested, here are 14 previous blogs I've written about the Library -including some that merely mention it- listed latest to earliest:

Library: Consolidation Via Deus Ex Machina?  Wednesday, September 9, 2009
More Library Volleys  Sunday, June 14, 2009
Library: Facts or Attacks?  Monday, May 4, 2009
A Few Belated Responses on MLK Day:  Monday, January 21, 2008
On Libraries, Hiking & A Bobcat!  Saturday, January 19, 2008
On Libraries & Football  Sunday, January 13, 2008
Library Planning Update: Citizen Input Wanted!  Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Parking Is Not Free  Monday, August 6, 2007

There is a lot of information in these blogs, but not nearly all that has been discussed and considered by the Library Board and others over the last several years.

There is also some pointed criticism noted, as well as controversial -but related- topics like the little matter of parking. But, these also serve an important opportunity to confront all stated concerns directly and answer them factually as FAQs.

While I doubt this blog -and its links- will interest everyone, some may find it a useful reference from which to launch a renewed investigation of an important vision that can transform into a reality our community will truly love.

This article appeared Saturday in the Herald.