published Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

No more 'Hamilton County' in public library name

by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    Rebecca and Scott Turner leave the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library with their four-year-olds, Carson, left, and Branham, carrying armloads of books today as they pass the sculpture in this file photo.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The marquee may stay the same, but the public library no longer will be the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library.

"Bicentennial library is not what they will go by," City Attorney Mike McMahan told council members.

Council members discussed the future of the library during a meeting Tuesday of the Legal, Legislative and Public Safety Committee. The council was set to vote on an ordinance that night to change city code to take the library's board from a city-and-county entity to a seven-member city-only board.

The council voted 9-0 to defer the matter until next week because of issues with language in the draft ordinance. The council members wanted more clarification.

McMahan told council members the name would stay the same on the front of the downtown library, but would be changed to either "Chattanooga Public Library" or "The Public Library," its unofficial title now.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield, said that once the ordinance is approved, a new board will be appointed right away.

"The current board will be dissolved soon," he said.

In other news, the council voted 9-0 Tuesday to authorize the Department of Parks and Recreation to distribute a stipend of $300 to high school and middle school students who completed the Next-In-Line Volunteer Internship Program over the summer.

The Next-In-Line internship is part of the Students That Unite and Take Initiative Against Gangs, or STUNTING, program.

STUNTING recruits gang members and students within the inner city to try to steer them away from illegal activities and get them involved in programs like music, dance and video production.

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328Kwebsite said...

No one trusts the Metro Payoff Club with our library.

Maybe our local politicos can check out a book from the Easy Reader section on due process, elections, and the ethical conduct of elected officials.

I feel that this is a massive disaster for our community. I have noticed that we've been spending less and less on the library system lately. I don't like it one bit.

Like many people, I use local libraries frequently. I have saved thousands of dollars by checking out books. I know we have donated some books ourselves. I have even used the often ignored government reports on the engineering and testing of materials that are held in the downtown library.

Every time I notice any subtle change in the library, I feel that we're getting one step closer to the ignorant anti-intellectuals in our area winning. I loathe any reduction in library services.

If anything, we need a massive increase in the number of public Internet terminals available; it's obvious that the networked stations are popular; they're always packed.

They are also no substitute for printed holdings. We do not like the changes to the library stacks that seem to nudge out printed books in what looks like a floorspace reduction that may coincide with an overall drastic decrease in bound volumes held by the library.

I don't like the newer, cheaper substitutes for in-library electronic catalogs. The database services may appear cheaper, but I think they bill libraries for MARC21 records. This means, over time, customizing the databases that contain the holdings catalog is where those companies make the money. They will end up charging more in fees to update their own information than they would have spent on maintaining their own system. Then, once configured, no one will want to make a significant change in service. I think this practice will burden the library system. It instead needs our support.

Staff. Nobody says it, but with the way local leaders have treated the City Arts people, the Public Works staff, the Police: well, it's not a great leap to suppose that the librarians are getting the shaft over there. I don't see any of them driving a black Lexus. I'm pretty sure our average librarian drives a used 1992 Toyota Corolla.

We're probably also failing to pay for grad school and post-grad school for those librarians. That's a critical milestone for their career advancements. What kind of academic support are we offering to our principal guardians of information in this area?

We see politicians complaining about anything more expensive than paperclips, probably. Meanwhile, they hand out $328,000 websites to their friends.

Save the library from Mayor Littlefield.

As one library bookmark I had from years ago read:

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries."

August 10, 2011 at 10:04 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

When the city elections come around, hopefully the voters of Chattanooga will settle the score with the entire city council. Ron Littlefield is living in a dream world if he thinks he will ever have a career in politics in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, or Southeastern Tennessee. If his delusions go beyond that scale, the upset citizens of Chattanooga will remember and remind those citizens of wherever he sets his sights on. If a backroom deal is brokered for a political job, those people should be put on notice of their political future as well. Chattanooga and Hamilton County have had far enough. Napoleon had his Waterloo, Ron Littlefield will have his as well.

August 10, 2011 at 10:06 p.m.
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