I recently attended a meeting of the Flathead County Library Trustees, who were discussing personnel issues and changes among other pressing items. Having lived in the Flathead Valley, beginning in 1982, I have been consistently amazed and appreciative of the quality of services our library offers. So much of this success and ability to meet the requests and needs of our community is dependent on adequate resources and quality staff members. I am sure our directors and library staff have struggled over the years, but they have consistently delivered quality services, despite budget crunches.
The feeling I had when I left this meeting on Sept. 23 was deep concern and sadness that we are not providing the support and resources needed by the staff to continue their good work. A few of the trustees even challenged the acting director when she expressed worries that her staff is experiencing a crisis in morale and minimized her concerns. The staff members have lost so many of their trusted colleagues to resignations and changes, and are working very hard to keep up their high standards, while feeling that the community is ready to cut salaries and positions to satisfy the uninformed and uncaring demands of our county commissioners. Thanks to the staff and members of the Board of Trustees who are speaking up for the needs of our library, and challenging the misguided efforts of some trustees and our county commissioners.
We will know how vital the library is to young families, children, teens, and adults when services begin to be cut. Can we stop this decline before it happens? Will we as a community demand better human and learning services, or wait until we lose them?
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