Whidbey News-Times


Library collaboration in Oak Harbor needs close evaluation | Letters

October 1, 2013 · Updated 11:04 AM


Recent articles in the Whidbey News-Times have mentioned that the City of Oak Harbor is considering plans for a sewage plant and coupling a new library with that effort.

I heartily endorse your editorial about the value, need and satisfaction of libraries. Indeed, one might note that there were libraries before fire departments and police in cities long ago.

It seems to me the need for a new one here and where it might go deserves considerable consideration and a full-fledged examination of the parameters.

There are two major things that must be studied — need and location.

It is worthy of note to define what we are talking about. The library in this case is called loosely the Oak Harbor Library.

It is not, it is the Oak Harbor branch of the Sno-Isle Library System and is governed by an extra-political organization receiving its financial support from assessments of county property taxes. The City of Oak Harbor is not a part of that political management which serves a much wider political area. Island county has six branches of the Sno-Isle system.

This fact becomes ever more important as Island County grows, especially the North Whidbey area of which Oak Harbor is a major part, but as the center of gravity of population shifts with immigration, that part diminishes.

Hence, any planning for a library expansion must have sufficient study to satisfy down the road needs, not actual and existing concepts. And such a study ought to have general participation.

Two mind sets must be re-evaluated, that is placing a new library has to consider that it doesn’t give justice to the large population outside Oak Harbor which this library serves by tying it too closely to Oak Harbor needs or desires. People on the north end will not be justly served if they must travel several miles to use the library they contribute heavily to support, as compared to the proximity of those who live within the city.

Sanford Harris
Oak Harbor


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