June 21, 2012

It’s a Quality of Life Question

The City of Pullman’s motto is High Tech, Higher Education and Highest Quality of Life.  I’ve thought a lot about those last three words:  quality - of - life.  According to old Mr. Webster, the definition of quality of life is “your personal satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with the cultural or intellectual conditions under which you live (as distinct from material comfort).”  Out of curiosity, I approached a few people around town to ask them what elements they felt contributed to their quality of life.  Their answers included the arts, parks, snow removal in the wintertime, library programs and books, good health care, and quality school systems.  I was glad to hear library services mentioned multiple times.  One lady I spoke with summed it up by saying, “it’s the stuff that makes life worth living.”  Now that’s something to ponder during a time when department budgets and services are on the reduction table for the City of Pullman.

Tough decisions and turbulent times lie ahead for Pullman’s city staff and council.  In case you hadn’t heard, the city’s General Fund is in bad shape.  Bad enough shape to warrant a comprehensive review of city services to determine where budget cuts will be made.  Through a budgeting approach called “Levels of Services and Priorities,” city council will evaluate affected departments to determine how this year’s funding should be re-prioritized.   To assist in this process, departments will make presentations to council in this order:  Administration, Finance, Public Works, Fire, Police, Planning, Parks, Recreation and Library.  If you have accessed Pullman’s city services, then you already know how these departments contribute to your quality of life.  Now is an important time to share your thoughts with city council.  Cuts have to be made.  Hearing how city services are valued and used by those who fund them will provide useful information during this evaluation process.

On a related note, Neill Library has commenced its own evaluation of library services – by way of strategic planning.  An advisory committee of fifteen members selected by the community and confirmed by the library’s board of trustees has been hard at work with the library board and staff to sharpen the focus of library services.  Our work together has been very productive and I am impressed by the committee’s involvement and commitment to their community and its library.

Speaking of community involvement, on June 12th Neill Public Library kicked off its annual Summer Reading Program.  That first day of registration library staff signed up 502 children. That’s one sign-up for every MINUTE we were open!  That is nothing short of amazing!

If you value library programs and services like the Summer Reading Program, please consider joining us on July 19 at 7pm for an open community forum hosted by the library in the library’s Hecht Meeting Room.  The Library Board of Trustees and staff want to hear which library services matter most to you.  Resources are limited and everything is on the table.  Knowing what services you value most will help us prioritize the library’s funding allocation.

Joanna BaileyIf you can’t make it to this meeting, consider writing down your thoughts and leave them in our comment box located at the library’s budget kiosk.  Either way, we appreciate hearing from you.  

By Joanna Bailey, Library Director
Neill Public Library
published 6/23/12 in Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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