I recently attended a meeting of the Flathead County Library Trustees, who discussed staffing issues and changes, among other things. Having lived in Flathead Valley since 1982, I am consistently amazed and grateful for the quality of the services our library provides. This success, and the ability to meet the demands and needs of our community, depends in large part on having adequate resources and skilled people. I’m sure our directors and library staff have had problems over the years, but despite budget constraints, they have consistently provided high quality services.
The feeling I had when I left this meeting on September 23rd was deep concern and sadness that we are not providing the staff with the support and resources they need to continue their good work. Some of the trustees even challenged the assistant director as she voiced and minimized concerns about a moral crisis among their employees. The staff have lost so many of their trusted colleagues to layoffs and changes and are working very hard to maintain their high standards while feeling that the community is ready to cut salaries and positions to meet the uninformed and indifferent demands of our county to meet commissioners. Many thanks to the staff and members of the Board of Trustees who advocate the needs of our library and question the misdirected efforts of some of the curators and our district officers.
We will know the importance of the library to young families, children, adolescents and adults when the services cease. Can we stop this decline before it happens? As a community, will we demand better human and learning services or wait to lose them?