In which councilmen try to play semantics with me

In my quixotic quest to save my local library, I’ve sent a few missives off to various elected officials. I heard back from one council member today, and rather than address the meat of the issue, he chose to argue semantics about “Director of Library” vs “Professional Librarian”, then he tossed a bunch of old statutes in, ignoring the fact that many of them have since been modified. See, as anyone who knows me can tell you…arguing semantics with me is never a good idea. Come at me with logic, sure. I can be defeated by a good logical argument. But semantics? I will run circles around you until you fall over from confusion, or just give me what I want to make me go away. Semantics, memetics, linguistics…that is *my* playground, Mr. Councilperson.

Here was my response:

Mr. ,

I’ve spoken via phone to Edward Seidenberg, Assistant State Librarian
– Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and Deborah Gibson,
regional coordinator for NETLS (NorthEast Texas Library System), both
of whom are familiar with the Rowlett Library current staffing, budget
and accreditation issues. It is their belief that if Rowlett follows
through with the council’s plan of library cuts, then the library will
no longer meet the requirements for accreditation and will lose the
benefits thereupon. I think it is safe to assume that the people
responsible for dispersing state funds and accreditation are probably
the most informed on the topics.

If I, as a regular citizen, can make two phone calls and find that
information, it boggles the mind that the city manager with his
abundant staff (none of whom are slated for cuts) can’t find that
information in the time since the budget was proposed and now.

It is important to note the requirements for “professional librarian”
as defined by statute: Chapter 13, subsection ยง1.84 Professional
Librarian
A professional librarian is defined as a person holding either a fifth
year degree in librarianship from a program accredited by the American
Library Association or a master’s degree in library or information
science from a program accredited by the American Library Association
or a higher credential from a library school offering an American
Library Association-approved program in library or information
science.

On May 25, 2007, Governor Rick Perry signed into law S.B. 913, which
states: If you are the director of a public library, you will still
be required to obtain a minimum of ten hours of continuing education
each year in order for your library to maintain its accreditation (13
TAC 1.83(4)). (If there is no director, then the Professional
Librarians must meet those requirements.)

In other words, if the city fires the director, it must have someone
else with the same qualifications doing the same job, to stay
accredited. If our existing librarians are expected to fill the
director’s shoes, then the programs that they are responsible for will
have to be eliminated. You cannot expect people to do two jobs for
one salary. It’s not reasonable. Especially when librarians are
actively recruited because they are in such high demand.

It’s time Rowlett realized that our library is a major cultural
touchstone. To eliminate library funding and resources is to say to
the citizens that they are less important than geraniums in a street
median.

Literacy isn’t a privilege, it’s a right. Since the time of Benjamin
Franklin, Americans have always had the ability to reach above their
current stations by using the free resources available at the Public
Library. To deny even one child the chance to read, or to deny one
student the chance to research a topic via the available databases, or
to deny one economically disadvantaged citizen the chance to better
themselves is something that should be abhorrent to us all. American
is a proud republic, built on the belief that all people are entitled
to grow and succeed. Rowlett doesn’t need to enact the cultural war
between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie by having a ruling class
that removes the tools that allow the rest of the culture to achieve
success.

Of all the things Rowlett needs to do, reducing the Library shouldn’t
even be on the list. The drastic reductions being considered are
shortsighted, ill conceived, and a radical step away from improving
our city.

I beg you Steve, to stand with me, and the other citizens fighting for
the rights of all people to be educated, literate and learned. Save
our Library from the radical proposals that would return us to a level
of service below that of towns half our size.

Sincerely,

Me.

My fave two lines:

*To eliminate library funding and resources is to say to the citizens that they are less important than geraniums in a street median.

*Rowlett doesn’t need to enact the cultural war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie by having a ruling class that removes the tools that allow the rest of the culture to achieve success.

Hee! I love any chance to both compare people to potted plants *AND* throw in some Marxist terminology. My gods, how I love fighting city hall. Take that, you Windmill!

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