I received the letter pictured below when I worked at Norma Krueger Elementary School’s Scharf Library. Crystal Walpole wrote asking what my favorite book was. She dropped the letter into her classroom’s mailbox. Krueger’s Wee Deliver postal service stamped and delivered it to the library.
At the time, Crystal’s address was 683 Cocker Spaniel Drive in Sporting Dog, Texas. The library’s was 123 Yorkshire Terrier Avenue in Terrierville, Texas.
“I discovered that the library is the real school.”~ Ray Bradbury
“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.” ~ Harold Howe, former US Commissioner of Education
I just scrapped an entire post. It wasn’t terrible. It was just too much. Here’s what I really want to say. I’ll try to make it brief.
In 1992, Marion ISD and Marion Community Library Association (MCLA) created a joint-use library, a partnership between the school district and a public non-profit organization.As one of the few school-public libraries in Texas, it was an experiment. I was founding librarian.
The experiment worked–for everyone. The school district had three (later four) campus libraries with existing collections of books and materials. The MCLA was eligible for grants and government funding not available to the school district. Together, the two entities built a library system that served people of all ages. The libraries were busy places. Everyone was welcome there.
When I retired, a co-worker took my place. The library got busier and better. For several years, it was listed on the Texas Library Association website as an exemplary small library. It was the center of activity in the town and the school district. My successor retired after several very successful years of service.
Now the library is in crisis. Public patrons have reported feeling unwelcome there. Public attendance and participation have decreased. The three branch libraries no longer qualify under state regulations as public libraries. The library lost its state accreditation.
Marion Community Library Association needs help to revive the library as a positive force–for the entire community. It needs and welcomes new members..
If citizens want to keep the library serving the public, they must step up and make their wishes known, to both the MCLA and the school district.
They also must show up–join the public library board and get the Marion Community Library back on its feet.