Reopen El Paso Public Libraries

Furloughed City Employees Deserve to Know When They can Return to Work

By Rosemary Neil

Tomorrow I will mail my check in payment for my property taxes.  With that in mind, I would like to know the timeline for the restoration of library services, which I consider essential for a well-managed city.

Quality of life services were gutted by our city to address revenue shortfalls.  Ten months have passed and the city should be in a position to begin the slow process of restoring those services to the taxpayers of this community.  


Other cities in the state  closed libraries with an emphasis on health and safety.  These communities have been bringing their libraries back into service over the past four months.  In a city with a City Manager, one Senior Deputy City Manager, three Deputy City Managers, four Managing Directors and one Chief Operations Officer there should be sufficient talent to develop our own return to service process for library and other quality of life services.


Furloughed city employees deserve to know when they can return to work.  Taxpayers deserve to know when they can expect the full range of services they have invested in over decades.  

Rosemary Neill served in professional positions with state, regional and local governments as well as large and small not for profit organizations.

3 replies »

  1. Excellent letter, Rosemary. The same with our museums.
    Thank you for your comments. Nailed it!!
    katherine

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  2. Thank you, Rosemary! You speak for many of us.

    Great public libraries are essential to economic development. Specifically, a progressive city must have a premiere, optimal central, downtown library that is a showcase and beacon for lifelong learning that will wow industry leaders thinking about relocating to our city. These industry leaders always look at public libraries when deciding whether to move employees to a new city, because they know that their employees care about the quality of library services for their families more than nearly all other factors. These industry leaders understand that the quality of the public library system is the first thing employees look for when considering a move to a new city. Cities that are the size of El Paso, larger and even smaller all across the country understand this simple principle of sound economic development and have built headquarter, flagship libraries downtown that are stunning in design and function and that their city leaders and their city residents can be proud of.

    The City of El Paso should be developing a Main Library for the future that expands space, parking, staffing, programs, collections, and services of the existing Main Library further, rather than decimating the minimal amount of space, staffing, programs, collections, and services that currently exist at the central library of the system downtown.

    Squeezing the Main Library back into a space that was built in the 1950s and had become inadequate by the year 2000 when voters approved a Library bond to expand the old building is not forward-thinking.

    It only accomplishes one purpose: to massage the egos of City staff leaders who prefer to push through their own pet vanity construction projects, rather than to listen to the city residents they serve about what the people of El Paso truly want and need downtown. Smart economic development is not a football game; nor is it a combat zone in a senseless war; nor is it a victory march to pander to an overreaching cultural affairs director.

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