Open Letter to the Carson City Library Board of Trustees
Submitted by Carson Now Reader on Fri, 08/31/2012 - 1:30pm
Your recent decision has stunned the residents of Virginia City, and, I hope, has dismayed the residents of Carson City into weighing in on your indefensible action.
On 26 July 2012, your agenda item was as follows:
'In May of 2012 Storey County voted to close the Storey County Public Library, (sic) Carson City Library Board of Trustees should consider a policy on a fee for issuing library cards to Nevada jurisdictions not providing any level of library service to their residents. (Action)'
I find this proposal—which became a fait accompli at your 23 August 2012 meeting—to be myopic, small-minded, and frankly, offensive. Let's examine it in more detail.
Most significantly, you should be aware of the fact that Storey County residents, especially those from the southern areas of the county, come to Carson for their jobs, their provisions, their health care, their higher education, their retail shopping, their new cars, their fast food, their entertainment, and more. That's a lot money, Trustees, and unless I'm mistaken, you're funded by taxes, into which Storey County residents pay heftily. If the dripping irony of the continued filling of your financial coffers by Storey County residents now being told they must pay an annual $25 fee to check out a book escapes you, it most probably doesn't escape your Carson City patrons, many of whom are the businesspeople, physicians, college staff, and restauranteurs who benefit heartily from their neighboring county's patronage.
In fact, if Storey County enjoyed the revenues of Carson City folk coming regularly to Virginia City for their groceries, their doctor visits, their dentistry needs, their cinema, their retail shopping, their college years, their...oh wait. We don't have all of that in Storey County! I guess if we did, and our neighbors to the south poured money into OUR commerce, we'd have a nice big, free, county library too.
But we don't. However, we DO have a fire department and a sheriff's department of which we're prodigiously proud. And it's those two entities—especially the former—that rush to YOUR aid the instant you need it, no questions asked. And we DO have an excellent school system that is happy to work with Carson City for anything it might need in Storey County...and without an upfront fee. In fact, last year Pop Warner couldn't afford the fees charged to use Carson's football fields, so Storey County School District offered its own athletic field free of charge.
You know, if your library had grievously been forced to close, I'm pretty certain our now-defunct library board up here would have never imagined charging your residents to use our library. On the contrary, in true Comstock fashion, I'm pretty certain they'd have thrown the doors open wide and issued a warm invite to come on up and check out some books.
You, on the other hand, Trustees, have exhibited the most ungracious conduct and the most selfish behavior a neighboring county can manifest. Your only feeble line of defense is juvenile, at best: 'But Washoe County does it tooooo!' Good reason, there.
The truth is, if we line up the revenues enjoyed by Carson City from its Storey neighbors—and the county services at the ready for any crises that arise—with the number of Storey residents who actually do spend an appreciable amount of time in a library, and we overlay that with the cost to serve those few folks...well, I think you might have made a blunder of ugly and epic proportion. One that makes you look churlish, fatuous, callous, and downright unneighborly.
If you find the tone of this letter outraged, you've heard me perfectly. When counties find it necessary to diss their neighbors, how might we ever hope countries might deal with each other amicably?