Opinion

What's the hurry to move the library?

By HARRY REINERT

For The Beachcomber

Someone needs to explain to me the pressing need for a different library on Vashon.

By “pressing need,” I mean what valuable service is the current library unable or unwilling to provide? And what is so pressing about that need that a ton of taxpayer dollars should be squandered to move the library elsewhere?

Right now, the library is situated in an attractive building with a clean, light, welcoming atmosphere inside. There is adequate parking available.

I cannot recall a single time in the past — except when the parking area was being resurfaced — when I needed to park on the street because all the library parking spots were filled.

The Vashon Library has a large collection of audiovisual materials on hand for checkout, as well as newspapers and periodicals.

There is a separate children’s corner and a number of comfortable chairs for those who want to sit and read. For special events, immediately adjacent to the reading room itself is a conference room for use by community groups.

Far more frequently than I like, I have a computer crash at home, so I go to the library to check my e-mail on the computers there.

I think I can recall one time when I had to wait about five minutes for a machine to become available, but on all other occasions — at various times of day or evening — I was able to get immediate access.

Until the eruption of the computer age about 20 years ago, every library was expected to have on hand in its building a wide collection of books.

With the total resources of the King County Library System (KCLS) now at our disposal by computer, there is no longer a need for the redundant practice of every building storing such quantities of volumes on the premises.

If I am looking for a specific book, the KCLS catalog will tell me how many copies are available within the entire system and when a copy will be available, if not right now. Also, I can reserve the next available copy, wherever it might be stored at the moment.

If there is at least one copy of the book that is available anywhere in the King County system, it usually arrives at the Vashon Library the next day. What better service could anyone want?

Finally, it has been pointed out repeatedly that the location of the library building so near the center of the town is very important for those who use it most frequently.

When David Brinkley was reporting on the opening of the Seattle Century 21 World’s Fair in 1962, he concluded that it was “a dandy little fair.”

I think we could modify that phrase and say with pride that Vashon has a “dandy little library.”

— Harry Reinert, a retired high school teacher, has lived on Vashon for 20 years.

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