Local library should return to Marmot search system


To the Editor:

I received a phone call from (Moffat County Librarian) Donna Watkins. Looking up the Craig-Moffat County Library on the Internet, to check the spelling of Ms. Watkins' name, I discovered the existence of the Three Rivers Library System, allegedly created pursuant to C.R.S. 24-90-101 Et seq. ("Et seq." means, literally, "and those that follow," thus C.R.S. 24-90-101 Et. seq. means Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 24, Article 90, Section 101 and the following sections.)

I was previously unaware of the existence of the Three Rivers Library System and now wonder what library needs it meets that might not be better met through the services available through the Marmot Library Network.

Out of 58 hits in Yahoo's search engine, I could not find a URL for the Craig-Moffat County Library. The old links on Marmot's Web site still exist, but the pages are no longer there. Having insufficient time, at present, to research this issue further, I must simply state that I'm even more concerned now with local library management with the apparent move away from Marmot.

I do not intend to divulge the identities of the two individual librarians mentioned in my Feb. 17 letter: 1) I do not want to be a party to any potential imposition of discipline that may occur as other librarians may also be guilty of similar offenses is such offenses are defined and 2) The librarian I overheard discussing after-hours use of a computer turned her back to me at one point in her conversation with the male mentioned in my prior letter. At that point, I could no longer hear what she said. She may very

well have told him that he was out of line. However, the fact that she

was discussing the issue of after-hours use while at work does tend to lead one to conclude that something was/is amiss.

C.R.S. 24-90-109, paragraphs (l)(a), (l)(b), and (l)(c) define the powers and duties of a library's board of trustees. I think within these statutes lies the solution to those actual or potential problems that I acquainted you with in my prior letter.

I'd suggest that you:

1) Build and install a suggestion/complaint box with its policy clearly stated above the box that would allow patrons to make complaints about library staff behavior in an anonymous fashion. I, personally, have no desire to identify the two librarians in my letter without being able to do so anonymously, to avoid any repercussions.

2) If policy regarding personal conversations and after-hours use of library equipment, including, but not limited to computer usage, isn't defined in library policy, then define it! This can be done by the board, I believe, pursuant to C.R.S. 24-90-109, paragraphs (l)(a) through (e) including any subparagraphs. However, I'm just a lay individual and obtaining a legal opinion from a qualified attorney might be desirable. Once such policy is defined, then all library employees from the top management levels down to individual librarians should be educated as to the requirements of that policy. That policy should be enforced evenly, applying to all management and other librarians within the library.

3) Allow any librarian who has the courage to step forward and admit violating any existing policy to do so with immunity at this point, as the issue is clearly library management. not the actions of any one or two librarians.

4) In our conversation, Ms. Watkins stated that she and the board "were very concerned" about the allegations in my letter, but that she thought they could not take action without the identities of the two librarians involved; I respectfully disagree. I think the board and Ms. Watkins have plenty of leeway with which they can address the situation, especially as I've enumerated above.

I believe it is in the best interests of the community and the library to put an end to any uneven, "cliquish" enforcement of present (or future) library policy that may exist. We need to create a friendlier, less polarized atmosphere within the Craig-Moffat County Library!

We also need to keep our best librarians, rather than letting them continually "slip away"

John Lawton,


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