Monday, July 15, 2024

EDITORIAL: Bad news gets worse for CLN patrons

| June 23, 2024 1:00 AM

Which do you want first, the bad news or the good news?

You want to get the bad news out of the way first? Alrighty then.

As if the Community Library Network didn’t suffer enough from the imminent resignation of Director Alexa Eccles, the organization’s brain, it then lost its heart.

Katie Blank’s three decades of service as a library trustee went up in smoke, with fellow trustees Rachelle Ottosen, Tom Hanley and Tim Plass holding the matches. The sulfur-stenched environment those three have created in a year together took far more than the joy out of Blank's courageous, under-appreciated commitment. It made her sick.

Blank’s immediate resignation a week ago was terrible news for CLN patrons who now have lost two treasure troves of experience and expertise in Blank and Judy Meyer. Meyer served as a trustee from 1984 to 2023, when an insidious campaign led Plass and Hanley to victory over Meyer and Regina McCrea. 

Combined, Blank and Meyer served almost 70 years. They’ve given way to trustees who act like they haven’t spent 70 minutes in a public library. But the bad news doesn’t end there.

Any hope of shifting the CLN majority back to rational, respectful, efficient, ideology-free governance is on long-term hold. Ottosen’s term doesn’t expire until 2027, and patrons are stuck with Plass and Hanley until 2029.

While wondering how long the lone effective leader on the board, Vanessa Robinson, can hold on against the marginalization and alienation routinely inflicted by the majority, here’s some more bad news: The national assault on institutions like public schools and public libraries shows no signs of easing up. So long as voters prefer authoritarianism over qualification, our prized public institutions will struggle to survive.

There’s plenty more bad news where CLN is concerned, but at this juncture you’ve probably had enough. So we’ll conclude with some good news, though that list is somewhat shorter.

Katie Blank can breathe again.