The complete stonewalling from everyone connected with the Williamsburg Regional Library’s decision to deprive us of the library privileges we’ve had for the last forty years continues.
After sending a heartfelt plea to the library director, Mr. Moorman, and getting back a canned dismissal, I sent a second email to the entire board of trustees.
Here’s what I got back this morning:
Dear Ms. Bauer–
I assure you that this difficult but necessary decision was not
made lightly–and made with a great deal of regret.
Susan Geary, Chair
WRL Board of Trustees
News flash to all bureaucrats:
1. We’re not fooled. A form letter practically comes with a flashing yellow light on it and a siren screaming WE DID NOT READ YOUR OPINION AND HOPE THAT YOU WILL GO AWAY.
2. People who complain about an issue know each other. They discuss the issues. They compare responses. I had barely opened Ms. Geary’s email before three friends forwarded me the exact same response. More followed during the day.
I emailed Ms. Geary and the rest of the board of trustees back:
I would like the entire board of trustees to know exactly how unsatisfactory this canned response from Ms. Geary is. A number of friends have forwarded me the exact same response to their equally heartfelt pleas. None of us understand why it is so impossible for the board to explain exactly WHY a fee-based system for out-of-county residents is impossible. This should be public knowledge.
Let me ask yet again:
Why is it impossible for out-of-county residents to receive privileges in return for a fee? Almost every library system in Virginia offers this option. When we ask why this is not possible here, all we get it, “The circumstances are different.”
We are taxpayers. We pay sales tax in York County, James City, and Williamsburg. A LOT of sales tax. The library receives state funds; that too is our money. Our money is being used, yet a strange secrecy persists.
Please provide an explanation as to why a fee-based system is impossible for WRL.
We know that funding is low. WE ARE ANXIOUS TO HELP. We would like to be part of the solution. Yet we are being shut out, and the stonewalling on the part of every library official makes it seem as though something under-the-table is going on. We will not drop this until we find out what it is.
I would be happy to receive an answer which is not a form letter.
Susan Wise Bauer
A number of you have offered extremely helpful and practical suggestions in your comments; thank you! We’ll be following up on them. In the meantime, I continue to believe that the WRL board owes the public an explanation. A full explanation. A non-form explanation. If we don’t know what the problem is, we can’t act as allies; our only choice to to act as enemies.
Weirdly, the form letter sent out by library director Mr. Moorman seems to be mutating. Friends who received form letters from him yesterday and today got this version:
As mentioned in my memo to non-residents of the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County which is available at library public service desks;â€ In an economic and political climate where the library has received budget reductions and looks at a future filled with uncertainty, it became evident to the Board of Trustees that to sustain financial support the library must restrict its circulation privileges to users who live in localities that directly fund the Williamsburg Regional Library.â€ In the above statement I would underline
political and sustain financial support.
For these reasons the policy was adopted and any options such as providing for non-resident cards for a fee are not under consideration.
Why does underlining change anything? Mr. Moorman, are you sending us a secret coded message that you’re not allowed to speak? Are you only able to send cryptic pleas for understanding? How can we help you get your message through??