Keep June Lake and other little libraries open |

Keep June Lake and other little libraries open

Record Courier Staff Reports

A note on the Mammoth Times on Sept. 2-8, 2004 article, “Building a Model of Excellence,” regarding the upcoming new Mammoth Lakes Library.

At the Aug. 9 meeting of the Mono County Friends of the Library, County Librarian, Diane Hurlburt presented a written report stating the Public Library Fund monies from the State Library would not be available for 2004-05. As a result, she has “started to consider whether we need to discontinue the hours funded by the PLF” at Benton, Coleville, June Lake and Lee Vining, reducing library hours at these libraries by four hours at each location. These four little libraries already operate on a limited number of hours, maybe up to 12 hours per week, staying open only three four-hour days.

The June Lake Library consists of a large room in the Community Center approximately 40 feet by 40 feet total. It would be wonderful to have additional space, more books, better computers but we aren’t asking for any of that. All we want is to retain our 12 hours per week library hours. June Lake has had a library in the community since 1965. It has been closed for one reason or another in the past but was always resurrected. This library was built entirely at community expense.

The Sept. 2 Mammoth Times article ends with the paragraph “The Mammoth Lakes Library is, and will continue to be, an integral part of the community. Its mission is to provide life long learning opportunities, social interaction, cultural enrichment, information and recreational reading in affordable and accessible formats to all residents and visitors of Mammoth Lakes. Its vision is to create a place that is always welcoming and available, that is a safe haven for people of all economic groups, backgrounds and ethnicities, and that is a vital part of the community.”

You can substitute any of the small Mono County communities’ names to the above statement instead of “Mammoth Lakes” and realize that we all want the same thing. We want a quality library in our community. We want adequate library hours. We want recognition by the Mono County school superintendent and the Mono County librarian, and we want their support. We want them to do the job they were elected and/or hired to do.

Following is short history gleaned from the “Oral Histories” found in all our Mono County libraries, an article on an interview with Arlene Reveal.

When Arlene Reveal, the former Mono County librarian moved to the county in 1950, library service consisted of a branch at June Lake, Bridgeport and Lee Vining.

In 1964 there were libraries in Antelope, Lee Vining, June Lake, and Chalfant Valley subsequently formed into the school-community library, over the protests of the state librarian. Libraries were then established in the Benton School, the Chalfant Store, the Mammoth Elementary School at Crowley Lake, and Coleville High School. The Bookmobile was installed in 1968.

After acquiring the Bookmobile in 1968 a decision was made to close the branch libraries in Lee Vining, Coleville and Benton, a cost-cutting measure. People in those communities were unhappy with the change and the libraries were reopened in 1971.

At one time the Mono County School Superintendent wanted to get rid of bookmobile services. The communities protested and the Bookmobile was retained. He then tried to transfer the Benton Branch to Inyo County, because the Benton Branch was too far. The community protested and appealed to the Mono County Board of Education and the Mono County Supervisors and they kept their library.

When Arlene Reveal was the county librarian, she noted that at Coleville the circulation was very low. She went to Coleville and talked to the library personnel and found errors in reporting and with a correction in reporting, the circulation in Coleville increased.

Nowadays, no effort is made to verify numbers reported when there is a drop in circulation. No one checks to see if everyone is counting the same apples and oranges. Instead, incorrect numbers are happily reported and used as an excuse to reduce hours or threaten libraries with closing.

— Margarita Lindsay is a resident of June Lake.