Public Libraries Are Essential Community Assets

And ours is now even more accessible.

“Starting January 1, 2020, Timberland Regional Library is no longer charging overdue fees on our collection materials. In addition, we are currently working with our system vendor to remove existing overdue fines. Why are we making this change while facing budget challenges? Research has shown that overdue fines act as an emotional barrier for many people and create a disproportionate financial impact on many in our communities. Library fines represent less than 1% of TRL’s overall revenue and data indicates that it is costing more in staff time to collect overdue fines than TRL receives in fines revenue. We’ve heard from patrons who have stopped using library services altogether because they can’t pay their fines, or they worry about being judged for being unable to pay. They’re not attending programs, accessing online resources, asking for help in finding a job, or utilizing the library in any other way that would enrich their lives. Eliminating overdue fines is a means to bringing people back into the library and supporting our communities.”

Don’t take advantage though.

“Patrons are still responsible for ensuring that items are returned by the due date. This Fines Free policy does not impact fees for lost and damaged items, those charges will remain on patron accounts. Items overdue for longer than 28 days will be considered lost, and patrons will incur a replacement fee for the item. Accounts with more than $10 in fees will have their borrowing privileges suspended until the item is returned or the replacement fee is paid.”

The Secret to a Kind and Gentle Spirit

Four months ago, in a temporary lapse of sanity, I became a college administrator. Since then some teacher friends have stopped talking to me (not really) and about half of my time has been spent in meetings (seemingly). Friday’s was in Renton. I assumed the same Renton address as the late August meeting, but I was wrong. Speed read email at your own risk.

A very nice librarian at Renton Technical College helped me determine I was supposed to be at City University in Renton. What kind of self-respecting writing teacher writes “very nice librarian”?! That’s ridiculously redundant.

Seems to me every librarian has an especially kind and gentle spirit.

In fact, I propose we replace every member of Congress with 535 random school and community librarians. And the State Department and the Pentagon. Imagine the cooperation, legislative wizardry, and policy genius that would follow. As a bonus, when interviewed on television, they’d whisper.

Ever wonder why librarians, like my friend in Renton, are a higher life form? It’s because they’re inveterate readers. Reading has a calming, salutary effect on people. The more one reads, the more kind and considerate they become.

Sadly though, librarians are seriously outnumbered by horses asses. What is it that creates a disproportionate share of non-librarian-like horses asses? There’s as many root causes as their are horses assess, somewhere in the millions, but reading is not one of them. Imagine these convos.

What the hell is wrong with him? He’s a real horses ass.

Comes from a nice family, but he spent too much of his childhood reading. It was really bad. Started out with picture books, then progressed to fiction, then he started to mix in non-fiction. Eventually, devoured whatever he could get his hands on. Sometimes would even read and drive. The end result was a literature induced downward spiral.

Or

What the hell is wrong with her? She’s a real horses ass.

A. Instead of watching The Bachelor and uploading pictures of herself to Facebook and Instagram, she READS. Sits under a lamp all night reading newspapers, Spanish language novels, and poetry that doesn’t even rhyme. Even plays soft classical music in the background. Her tragic life course was set by a debilitating love of imaginary stories.