The Herald Bulletin

November 2, 2012

Reader Viewpoint: Future of library service in Adams Township at stake

By Lynn Hobbs
Pendleton Community Library

— I feel like I have déjà-vu. Back in the spring, I would sit down to write press releases about the library’s attempt to petition Adams Township residents. We were trying to establish a permanent arrangement for delivering library service to them. Now it’s fall, and here I am again ... writing the same type of article. Nothing has changed. So, why do we think we can get it done this time when we couldn’t get our 600 signatures last time? I’ll tell you why. The General Election.

The Pendleton Library needs the signatures of at least 600 voters registered in Adams Township. And, where is the most reasonable place to make sure that we are hitting this exact demographic? The polls on Election Day. We were out for the primaries, and it was our most successful day for obtaining signatures. However, there were simply not enough of us to go around. When I was talking with somebody, another six people might have passed me by. That means six potential signatures, now starting up their cars and heading somewhere that isn’t next to me, listening to some good reasons why they should sign our petition. There were just too many lost opportunities.

This time around, we need an army out there. We need to make sure that we reach each and every person who exits those polls and convey the facts about the future of library service in Adams Township. We are not trying to coerce anybody. We are not putting on the hard sell. We simply want to educate the public as to what their options for library service are, whether they sign or not.  

I have at least five good reasons why Adams Township voters should sign this petition. Depending on the audience that I am addressing, I may pull out the one about the possibility of Anderson taking over library service if townships are done away with. Or, I may share my touchy-feely one about how important public libraries are to our children, or how libraries make communities stronger. I may pull out a few facts and figures if I’m talking with somebody who prefers numbers over intangibles. But, the one argument that seems to make the most sense is this: The current arrangement just isn’t fair.

We have an obligation to our constituents, the taxpayers who automatically pay into the Pendleton Community Public Library. We are here to serve them and their families with materials and services that educate, inform and entertain. So, when people in one township pay five times more for library services than those living in the neighboring township ... for the exact same services. Then my conscience kicks in, and I think that we need to do whatever we can to change that. Equality is our primary focus.  Equality is fair, and when it comes to library services, it’s a very good thing.

I hope that you will come out to see us on Election Day to sign the petition. You can also stop by the library to sign. We’d be happy to answer any questions that you might have. I’ll show numbers to “number people,” and I’ll give my heartfelt plea to those of you who will have a better understanding of the issue when it is presented in a different way. The bottom line is that we will do whatever we can to continue serving Adams Township patrons on a model that is fair to our existing taxpayers. With your support, I am certain that we can be successful this time.

Lynn Hobbs is director of the Pendleton Community Public Library.