published Monday, July 9th, 2012

A more accessible library

A lot has changed recently at what for decades was generically known as Chattanooga's "public library." It has a new director. It has renovated its facilities, streamlined its services and updated its holdings. It even has a new name -- it is now The Public Library rather than the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library. And it has new operating hours. The latter is a positive and welcome response to requests from the community to expand the library's accessibility through hours closely attuned to contemporary lifestyles.

The revamped schedules at the library's downtown flagship and at Northgate, Eastgate and South Chattanooga branches directly reflect the rising demand for library services in the evenings and on weekends. They also acknowledge changing patterns in usage, especially at Northgate and Eastgate, now the busiest sites in the library system.

Indeed, the new hours will be most noticeable at Eastgate and at Northgate. Both are now open on Sunday from 1-5 p.m., a boon for patrons whose weekday and Saturday schedules often make it difficult for them to get the library. Ditto for students, many of whom have longed for extended weekend access to the library and its storehouse of information during the school year.

The addition of Sunday hours is not the only significant change at the Eastgate and Northgate branches. In an acknowledgment of the demand for more evening hours, both branches will open at 11 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Monday and Thursdays. The more traditional hours of 9 a.m.-6 p.m. will be observed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Both branches will be closed on Friday, traditionally the least busy day of the week.

There are major changes at the South Chattanooga branch as well. The branch now operates from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, the first time in its 20-year existence that it has been open on Saturday. It will serve the public from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and be closed on Friday and Sunday. That schedule adequately addresses the community's requests and needs.

Hours at the downtown facility have shifted, as well. It will be open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m.-6p.m on Friday and Saturday. It will be closed Sunday. The changes in operating schedule properly acknowledge shifting library usage in the downtown business and residential communities.

"I am thrilled that we were able to reconfigure our hours to better serve our customers," says Corinne Hill, the new executive library director. She, her staff and the library's board of directors have every right to be.

A library is best utilized when it is available to those who want to use it at a time that is convenient to them rather than during the often limited hours dictated by the conventional business and school day. The new schedules more carefully match changing demands for services with the ability of the library budget and staff to supply them than the old operating hours. The changes and the library's willingness to make them to better serve the public are gratifying.

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328Kwebsite said...

The librarian told me that in order to check a book out from The Chattanooga Hamilton County Public Library, I needed to purchase a "membership" for $50 a year.

As a military officer of Tennessee who returned home from Iraq in 2008, I have been unemployed now for most of the past four years. I have been able to get some work here and there, but nothing permanent. I have been rejected from employment applications many, many times.

Library use is important to me. While unemployed, I wrote a book and donated a copy of it to the library. I received a postcard thanking me for my donation; they never shelved my work.

I see that libraries are very important to our poorest citizens. I know that the library facilities, staff and collections are ignored and underfunded. There is not a subset of activity that's been appropriately funded there for the past 20 years. Recently, everything has gotten worse.

While I was away from home on my last tour, my family members were laid off in a mass termination for profit. We are surviving by a thread, but, quite frankly, some of these government decisions of late have infuriated me daily.

$328,000 in corruption for a website. 10,000 unemployed due to an owner class that won't live up to its social obligations. Corporate catastrophic contracts left and right. Time and again I hear of local businesses that want tax havens in the old UK. They complain and refuse to hire workers. Their excuse is that people are untrained. No one trains on their internal procedures.

It's not competition; it's lying.

Mayor Littlefield's treatment of the public library is right up there with all of that. Mayor Coppinger's self-appointment after Ramsey's desertion; "slaves learned to read" and fireworks in East Ridge.

What is wrong with you people? Do we have to pick the stupidest, most broken answer possible? That's what happened to the Chattanooga Hamilton County Public Library. It was treated with selfishness and disrespect. The very facility itself, is, I think, being wrenched into position to be used as another City Government Annex.

The treatment the Chattanooga Hamilton County Public Library has received is a case study in government arrogance. The corruption foisted by Mayor Littlefield and his cabal on this city has been so bad and so disgusting it has caused serious losses of service in areas outside of their jurisdiction. Basically, nothing has gone right.

The changes at the Chattanooga Hamilton County Public Library have resulted in a reduction of provided services, not an increase as this editorial advertises. When people in this area cannot check out a book because the Mayors and unelected politicos haven't paid the taxes, it's not an improvement. The conditions are shameful.

These aren't good changes. They're changes which favor stupidity. Oppose them. Insist on good government. Our people deserve it. Even the lowest of the low: our politicians.

July 9, 2012 at 6:43 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

Bicentennial library. I woke up and realized this morning that it is the Chattanooga Hamilton County Bicentennial Library. 1776 to 1976: 1976 was a year masted sailing ships filled Boston harbor in celebration of the establishment of our nation. We saw it all on black and white television screens.

The Bicentennial Library is also important to us because it is a government repository library. ASTM documents, which tell us about the quality of materials, can be found there. Some people go there for genealogy; sometimes I went there for the lab reports.

Don't give in to this fake renaming of our library. Let us still remember that it is the Chattanooga Hamilton County Bicentennial Public Library. Remembering its proper name helps to remind us what a dreadful state it is in right now.

Mayor Ron Littlefield laid waste to our library.

July 10, 2012 at 5:16 a.m.
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