Wednesday, May 09, 2007

El poder de la palabra

At Olneyville, the PPL reps tried the same strategy of setting up easels with the four options for branch services and inviting people to ask questions. Unfortunately, none of the PPL reps spoke Spanish. This proved problematic, since all of the community members in attendance spoke Spanish first and foremost. (I speak a few words of Spanish, so I admit that this is pot=kettle=black. Still, I could say "nombre" and "numero de telephono," so I did get the contact info of the most vocal community members.) Fortunately, one of the Olneyville librarians spoke Spanish, so the entire meeting was channeled through her.

Sadly, the cocktail atmosphere was completely disrupted by the fact that all the people who showed up for the meeting couldn't possibly squeeze into the teensy meeting room in the back of the library. Everything overflowed into the space in front of the circulation desk, and no one was able to enjoy the delicious decaf coffee. Dale Thompson was forced to personally answer questions about everything from fundraising to handicap access to why the library was spending so may dollars on those fascist, newfangled computer machines (???).

There was strong representation from the community (circa 30 people) and a real push by at least one woman to provide people with a petition to sign, or at least some formal way to show their support for branch libraries.

Word is that the PPL financial committee has crafted a tentative budget (subject to approval by who knows how many groups and individuals) that accepts the 3.3 mil from the city. The discussion now has to do with whether they'll cut people or branches to stay in the black. There's some formula for dividing the overhead costs by the different branches and calculating the price tag of each branch. This budget would probably involve 10-12 layoffs rather than 60, so that explains why no one (to my knowledge) has actually received pink slips yet.

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