Len Shipman: Tough times for the library
President, Summit County Library Board
As president of the Summit County Library Board, I would like to thank James Revelle for his letter of July 24 (“Summit County Behind the Times”) and thoughtful criticism of our library’s computer Internet service. Internet service is important and needs to be reliable. Many of our patrons depend on it every day to meet a wide variety needs. Although I don’t have an immediate explanation for the deficiencies he cited, I can assure Mr. Revelle that his criticism will be reviewed and appropriate action will be taken.
I can say that up to this point in time the library’s computer Internet service has worked quite well. It has received steadily growing use ever since it was put in place more than two years ago. In fact, nearly 1,000 patrons use the service each month for a total of more than 55,000 minutes! Certainly with that much use, problems may arise. We regret it when that happens because serving the needs of our patrons is our daily goal. All in all, our computer Internet service has been highly reliable, and it is our intention to maintain that level of reliability.
We do the very best we can with our limited resources. Like Mr. Revelle, we would also like to “double computer/Internet access at all libraries.” We agree “brand new computers” are needed and we, too, would like to dispense with a fee for printing. However, the fact is that the library has suffered budget cuts over the last two years, making it difficult for us to keep our nose above water. We have curtailed the purchase of books, some subscriptions have been stopped, and hours of operation have been cut. Even so, during these tough times, library use has increased dramatically. More and more people come through our doors every day, placing huge demands on our staff. Yet we operate today with the same number of truly dedicated employees we had in 2000, and we have been able to meet the needs of patrons only through the fine work of many devoted volunteers.
We are here to serve the Summit County community. For the most part, that community has had very positive things to say about our libraries. We welcome thoughtful criticism because it leads to improved service. Even in these difficult times, we will continue to do our very best to achieve that goal.
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