Saturday, February 02, 2019 1:00 am
Taxpayers had no role in library's philosophy shift
There are a bunch of reasons the issue of philosophy of the Allen County Public Library is important to me but, honestly, one of the top ones is that the ACPL has been a source of pride and recognition for this city.
It took a long time (and lots of people) to turn Fort Wayne into a city that gets attention for all the right reasons. The ACPL was there all along, doing excellent work, managing its resources and reputation, and even giving this city a bright new focal point in the downtown landscape.
The change in philosophy to a popular materials library is hard to understand, given all the planning, funding, design and approvals that went into creating sustainable housing for our massive and renowned collection.
Maybe this change makes sense, but how would we know? We never got the chance to hear the plans or weigh in on it. And as taxpayers, we do deserve that.
America little advanced toward King's vision
In his “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King impeached America's commitment to freedom and equality for all. He asserted that a century had passed since emancipation yet the Negro was not free; he still was the victim of discrimination; his educational and employment opportunities were blunted; and he was exiled to the squalid ghettoes of inner cities or to the tenant farms of the South. King called for the end of gradualism and demanded immediate action.
Fifty years have passed since this plea, but blacks still languish as second-class citizens. They still recognize a need to affirm their personhood with declarations of “I am somebody” in response to racial prejudice. Arguably, the only change over these years has been that Jim Crow has been displaced by mass incarceration.
In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, King condemned the devastation America's military forces were inflicting upon the people of Vietnam. He appealed to America's conscience to examine the morality of the bullets, bombs, herbicides and napalm it was raining upon the people of that small nation. He demanded that we look beyond Vietnam and look to resolve the paradox of our foreign policy using war to accomplish peace.
Fifty years have passed since that speech, and military might remains our method of imposing our will or protecting our interests. The only change is that we have added drones, the mother of all bombs and torture to our arsenal and, to assuage our consciences about our constant warring, recast our fighting men as latter-day knights of the round table defending our sacred values and ideals. We have been conditioned to thank them for their service.
America, convinced of its righteousness, takes the occasion each year to recollect the prophetic words of King, but it has no intention of fulfilling them.
Neither cold nor snow stays newspaper delivery
Every morning The Journal Gazette appears at my door, even in this frigid weather when schools closed and the U.S. Post Office canceled delivery. Please remember to tip your newspaper delivery person; it is an important and difficult job.