Friday, September 7, 2007

Library Task Force Holds First Meeting!

This is shocking news! It's all in the Chattanoogan:
Mayor Ron Littlefield announced the members of the newly appointed Library Task Force after their initial meeting on Thursday.

Mayor Littlefield, in his State of the City address earlier this year, said that he was creating a task force to look at the current library system and "explore ways to make it one which is worthy of a great city for now and into the future."

Bicentennial Library officials say they are facing a funding crisis and have appealed to the city and county for additional funds.

Louis Wright, county finance director, said county officials have been awaiting the report of the task force. The county for this fiscal year gave the library the same amount as the previous year, Mr. Wright said.

The task force issued a statement "urging the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County to provide the additional $300,000 to address short-term budget needs as we continue to consider long-term opportunities for our library system."

The task force members are:

Jim Kennedy III - Kenco Group Task force Chairman
Eleanor M. Cooper
Tom Griscom - Chattanooga Times Free Press
Ruth Holmberg
Mai Bell Hurley
Mary Knaff - Chattanooga State
Theresa Liedtka - UTC
Brian May - Maycreate
Elaine Swafford - Hamilton County Dept. of Education

Others may be added as work progresses, officials said.

At their first meeting on Thursday, the group announced that they will spend the next several months studying the current library system and then look at library systems throughout the country for inspiration and ideas.

Committee chairman Jim Kennedy said, "The task force hopes to visit libraries in other areas as well as bring noted experts into Chattanooga to help raise the level of our thinking - to challenge ourselves to 'think outside the box.'"

The task force will provide an opportunity for public input before issuing a final report, it was stated.

Mayor Littlefield praised the task force "for their plans to look beyond the current difficulties of our library system, and make bold plans, creating an exciting vision for a library system which will serve our community for many years to come."

One hopes now that the cat is out of the bag, Littlefield will keep the public informed of his activities. One also hopes that this "task force" isn't like the recycling "task force," which was apparently conceived only to give cover to the plan Littlefield had already decided on.

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