Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Late August Updates

Tonight (Tuesday), August 27, at 6:30 p.m., the Urbana Library Trustees will hold a special meeting in the Library's Satterthwaite Conference Room. The agenda is simply two items: public comment and closed session.

Many of us appreciate the opportunity the Trustees have afforded for additional public comment, but there are a few problems accompanying it as well. Let me outline two of them.

First, the meeting location holds only 14 people. The Trustees and staff who regularly attend the meetings will easily fill most of those spaces. How exactly can public comment occur effectively? The other two regular meeting spaces at the Library are booked for other events, but why not move the Trustees' meeting elsewhere such as the Urbana Civic Center or the City Building or, hell, even the quiet reading room on the Library's main floor?

Second, the trustees have continued in their silences. I realize that legal issues (the former? Executive Director has apparently hired an attorney to aid in negotiating the 'early separation' that was announced in July) preclude comment on some issues. Yet, the complete public silence suggests that the Trustees still lack any sense of urgency to meaningfully address issues related to governance, personnel administration, strategic planning, and more.

I am beginning to shift my views that the Trustees are acting from a position of benign incompetence to one of willful and hubristic obstructionism. Urbana Library Trustees, please prove me wrong. 

#Bookgate has also reached the pages of Library Journal. In his August column, Michael Stephens reminds the greater library community why #bookgate is not simply a local Urbana issue. You can read it here:  http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/08/opinion/michael-stephens/collection-bashing-trashing-office-hours/

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