Without meaning to in my commentary (“We need library professionals now more than ever,” Nov. 19) I seem to have insulted Frank Mecham and his efforts in his current office (“Improving our libraries is imperative,” Nov. 26). I did not intend to insult him and want to point out a couple of things.
I acknowledge he is a strong advocate of the Paso Robles Library and its volunteer system. Serving on the Board of Trustees with Mecham as a liaison to the city was a very enjoyable experience, a learning experience for me. He was a very effective leader for Paso Robles.
I am very sorry he took my opinion as an attack against him and his ideas. My opinion was aimed at politicians as a whole, and the priority many of them place on other services over libraries. Not just in our county, as I pointed out, but all over the country, libraries are under attack. When the economy heads south, library use surges, while many other services remain flat (fire, sheriff) or demand actually decreases (building permits, planning).
As to the sources of my ‘misinformation’, Mecham can look to his county administrative staff. It sounds as though his meeting with the staff did not go as intended. Instead of a strong message of support, library staff got a message that frankly caused a lot of stress and fear within the ranks, even as demand for their services has increased dramatically. As many within the ranks of county employees have done, library personnel have taken pay cuts to aid the county in this time of fiscal crisis.
As stated in my opinion, I am all for expanding the volunteer force in the county to expand hours, expand services, and offer help to all of those who are now in need while the economy is in a tailspin. Ultimately, my suggestion for Mecham still stands: Start looking for waste where it exists in the county government. I would suggest he call town hall meetings throughout the county to solicit ideas from the public—many of whom have had to fight the bureaucracy to get anything done. I am sure he would find some excellent ideas for cost cutting before cutting staff anywhere in the system. That is what we put people in office to do: find solutions. It may be difficult, but it is what we put them in office to do.