Editorial: Library games

Tucked at the end of a story on page A5 about the King County Library System’s decision to move forward on its effort to buy the old machine shop at the K2 site is a curious admission by a top library official.

Three months ago, the Vashon Park District board wrote a letter to the King County Library System board making one significant piece of information clear: The park district remains willing to work with the library system to find a way to keep the Vashon branch at Ober Park.

Kay Johnson, the capital facilities director for the library system, says she hadn’t seen that letter. Really? The board of the library system receives a letter about a major capital facility issue and doesn’t share it with the woman who directs that department? That’s hard to believe.

What’s more, Johnson maintains the library is considering a move for one overarching reason: It has no choice. That’s simply not true, as the letter from the park board indicates.

It’s not clear why the library system remains bent on moving a branch out of town when its own analysis shows that community support for such a move is “low.” Many observers, however, have suggested it’s because the head of the county’s library system, Bill Ptacek, is fed up with Vashon and no longer cares — if he ever did — what Islanders think. The fact is, he’s a public servant, whose salary is paid for by our tax dollars. Such a stance is unacceptable.

If the library system conducts a good-faith analysis and decides it still makes sense to move the library, The Beachcomber, for one, will accept that. But at this point, it seems its decision-making process is, at best, incompetent, at worst, a kind of cynical political gamesmanship.

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