Letters to the Editor

The Editor

Tumbler Ridge News

Tumbler Ridge, BC

V0C 2W0

August 2007

Dear Editor:

My Goodness! We?re already into August and I realize that I?ve been remiss in not sending a letter on behalf of the Tumbler Ridge Public Library Board of Trustees, and also on behalf of the Library staff, to thank Town Council ? and, of course, the taxpayers of this fair town ? for the increase granted to the Library in this year?s budget. It is gratifying to see such support from Council.

One of the ways the new money will be put to use will be to give the staff a modest, but well-deserved, raise. The wages at the Tumbler Ridge Library have for years been amongst the lowest of all the libraries in the Peace Region and this will address that shortcoming to a certain extent. We have had two university graduates working for $10 an hour, obviously an impossible situation in today?s tight labour market.

The most visible result of the budget spending that the public will see is the installation of a security system, hopefully before the end of the year. This is the year that the Library has decided to ?bite the bullet? and face the growing problem of theft. We have always been plagued with the disappearance of books, videos and computer games ? and yes, dear readers, we are a modern library and so we do supply computer games for the children. I assume that they are the ?educational? type and not the ones that encourage murder, mayhem and other anti-social behaviour, but I cannot be sure. The disappearance of material from the library has been a problem for years, but lately it has reached a proportion that forces us to take action. The boom that the town is experiencing seems to mean also a boom in, umm, what shall we call them? Miscreants? Ne?er-do-wells? Naughty people? How about thieves? Yes, that?s the word that I?m looking for. The security system will be similar to what you see at Wal-Mart, where you exit past a screening device that detects whether or not you have an unchecked item in your possession. This is a major undertaking, for it means that all the books and material in the library will have to be electronically tagged. (Volunteers, anyone?). Now, I personally wanted to buy the model developed by the Russian Army that zaps the thief with 20,000 volts of electricity, leaving a charred pile of smoking ashes on the floor. The rest of the Board talked me out of that because they pointed out that the stolen book would also be burnt to cinders, which didn?t solve the problem of lost material at all. Also, the custodial staff at the Community Centre don?t start work until the evening, so the pile of ashes would sit there all day waiting to be swept up. There was also one other concern? what was it now? Oh, yes! I remember! It probably is illegal to immolate someone for stealing a book. Darn it! I guess I?ll bow to the Board?s superior wisdom and allow them to buy the screening device that simply whistles, honks, rings, whoops, or whatever. At the very least, it would be nice if it announced in a booming voice, ?Shame on you! Shame on you!? every time it detected an item being stolen.

So, when you visit the library later this year, don?t feel uncomfortable over the fact that you are being electronically screened when you exit. We really do trust you. It?s the other person we don?t trust. And if you have to pick your way past a smouldering heap of charred ashes on your way out, well, at least you?ll know that I was able to prevail over the Library Board and the Russian Army has made another sale!

Have a good summer.

Bob Norman, Chair

TR Public Library Board of Trustees