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Jeffrey Goodendorf: Welcome privatized libraries with caution

Posted: June 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Signal has graciously printed several letters of mine in the past, expressing concern over the privatization of our local library system.

First off, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful staff of the Los Angeles County Library for its dedicated service to us and for their support of the patrons during this difficult transition period. They went beyond all expectations.

I also want to thank the Los Angeles County Library for listening to our concerns and providing us with an alternate service in the Stevenson Ranch (bookmobile) library stationed at the Dr. Richard H. Rioux Memorial Park. This has been an answer to so many concerns and for the vacancy left by the recent closures.

Without this venue, many of us would not have the access nor the books to read during this period of no local library system.

I feel sorry for the mothers and their children who have not had the much-lauded summer-reading program at their disposal. I am sure the children are missing it.

I hope the public has learned what complacency can do and will support the Los Angeles County Public Library system in their quest to establish a new facility in the Stevenson Ranch area. Most of the other county libraries are too far away or inadequately stocked, such as the Castaic branch, to meet the needs of anyone beyond the top-10 reading list.

The new head of the Santa Clarita Public Library system, Ed Kieczykowski, has a challenge ahead of him. The June 26 article “Library to begin new chapter” has summarized some of his priority plans for the immediate future.

I wish him luck in his endeavors. However, I also challenge him, and I hope that I speak for many other readers out there to provide us with a system equal to the current Los Angeles County interlibrary-loan system that has always met our needs without exception.

It is not enough to have a large amount of the current best-sellers. There is a need for a broad base of special-interest materials to meet the needs of those of us who are not part of the pop-book culture, but read to learn and broaden our knowledge bases.

I hope that Kieczykowski will meet this challenge and supply us with the materials that we need in a timely fashion and with the same great service that the county has given us in the past.

He has given priority to the young adults and their needs, but I hope he will not forget the adults who rely on the library to meet their reading needs.

The doors will open in the beginning of July. Only time will tell how well the city of Santa Clarita’s board members have met the needs of this community with their decision to privatize, and if the services will match the standard of excellence that we are used to.

Meanwhile, I hope that the public will show their support in establishing another much-needed county library in the immediate area and will answer surveys, attend meetings, etc., and not allow this chance to keep the system that we have always loved within our area.

We did not have a voice in the current decision to change our library system. Let’s make sure that does not happen again.

Jeffrey Goodendorf is a Newhall resident.


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