Letters to the Editor

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E pluribus infantalia unum!

John Wilkens

State of confusion: Things a bit bumpy there in Colorado over the past few years, eh?

It was bad enough seeing the rapacious treatment of the mountains, what with those "world-class" resorts popping up all over the slopes. Things are getting a bit tight for the wildlife, we hear.... And you had those pesky problems so well-documented in Westword but "forgotten" by the Boulder Camera and the Denver Post, et al.: homeless profiling, stadium skulduggery, parking bans.

Then the image problem(s), so well summed up in one word: Columbine. Seems the provocative story of young people adrift in plasticized subdivisions and athlete worship at the schools never saw light of day in the mainstream media there, either. But we saw it in Westword, by golly! Now, we all know the police in those little 'burgs are the epitome of professionalism -- goodness, let's not even go there with JonBenét.

You see, those pesky little problems all add up, and it was a shock when we outsiders read about the manner in which political correctness had invaded the local art/museum scene there in Boulder. No, no, don't get the wrong idea: I wholly agree that the American flag can be provocative. But that little tidbit about woman-as-victim hanging male organs out to dry! Then the comments of the "artist" and the library director -- those were a hoot!

We wouldn't know what to do for a laugh way down yonder here if it weren't for Colorado -- and good ol' Boulder at the epicenter.... Urbanization of the pristine mountains and the wallow for "world-class" status (with concomitant obscurantism by media) and PC "diversity" ain't all it's cracked up to be, huh?

Keep it up! We'll be watching the yokel media there with bated breath...and checking Westword now and then, just for accuracy's sake.

Chris Long
Chattahoochee County, GA

The Next Chapter

Making book: I read Patricia Calhoun's November 8 column about the Denver Public Library, "Cheese Wiz," with great interest. It is certainly time for someone to take a good, hard look at the library and Rick Ashton's "The Next Big Thing," "Your Library in a Changing World," or whatever he is currently calling it.

There are a lot of changes being made in the branches as well as at the Central Library. I have worked in one branch for a number of years and have seen many changes during my tenure there. (No, I have never "struggled" to adjust.) Current changes, however, are disturbing: I feel that both the staffing and the stocking of library materials is being heavily impacted, and not in a positive manner. I find the current waste of staff time, library materials and library funds appalling. The branch libraries have been instructed to eliminate a lot of books to make room for greatly expanded collections of videos, CDs, computer games and, soon, DVDs. At one larger branch, the book collection has been reduced by more than 20 percent.

Restructuring of branch management and staffing has been pretty drastic, and not particularly successful. The branches have been organized into "clusters," each managed by an individual who is expected to oversee as many as five libraries. Onsite management has been reduced drastically and is often nonexistent. Dr. Ashton expressed his concern about a "certain level of divisional focus and loyalty" among branch staffers; what he was referring to is the fact that many branch staff members work where they do because they are comfortable with the neighborhood and understand the nature of the patrons they serve. The patrons have come to rely on these people. Now many staffers have been moved or are expected to travel between branches on a regular basis, often in one day. The waste of staff time, traveling expenses and continuity of service is disturbing and unnecessary.

I am not a "disgruntled" employee. I love the library and have always been proud to be a part of something that has given so much to my city. But in short, I believe that it is time for the Library Commission and the taxpaying customers to take a close look at what is happening to their wonderful library system.

Name withheld on request

Going, Going, Gone

The end's in sight: After reading David Holthouse's "This Thug's Life," in the November 8 issue, it seems that Frank Lontine ended up right where he wanted to go. And he would have ended up there sooner or later -- the sooner the better.

Hindsight's always better than 20/20.

Vern Newsom

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