Thursday, May 17, 2007

West Side Story

Well, you have to give PPL credit for improving their game. Since Knight Memorial, they've had a Spanish translator all their own, and at Smith Hill they actually got to use him. They had the Spanish-speaking crowd on one side of the library and English-speakers on the other, and the only drama of the evening came when someone from the English side of the tracks wandered over to Spanishville, and the translator apparently thought he'd only been hired to translate one-way.

Dale had a pretty receptive audience of people who admitted that before they just hadn't understood the unique arrangement between PPL and the city. They professed themselves now prepared to take the issue up with their city council people. However, one woman flummoxed Dale by asking if there was some way people could be involved in the current contract negotiations between PPL and the city. Dale reflected and decided that no, there really wasn't any way the people could be involved in telling the city what level of library services they wanted.

There was also one precocious kid with a crew cut (circa age 8) who sipped coffee from a styrofoam cup and, after informing Date that he read the newspaper every day and was therefore in the know, inquired as to the fate of his beloved branch. Dale told him no one was talking about closing the branches. I tried to give the kid a sympathetic look, since I know full well that no one in this cold, cruel world takes you seriously if you look to be under the age of 20. Even if you're white, male, crew-cutted, and drinking coffee.

Ultimately, the question is, who will advocate for the branches if neither the city nor PPL considers itself responsible?

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