The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

August 4, 2013

Letters to the Editor 8/4/13



Dan Reed


Reading program a success

Dear Editor:

The Summer Reading Program at Athens-Limestone Public Library has ended, and this year was an excellent success. Hundreds of children and young adults registered for the program. 

During June and July, children and teens participated in activities and events related to our theme:  “Dig Into Reading!” We hosted story times, crafternoons and several special events for tweens, teens, and adults. Dr. Magical Balloons returned this year and put on a fantastic show with stories and balloon animal characters, and his performance was enjoyed by patrons of all ages.

Our ending party was also a great day — we hosted a carnival with games and activities inside and outside the Library. The children had a wonderful time at our ending party, our special programs, and throughout the entire summer.

I would like to thank those who made the Summer Reading Program such a success at the Library. Cinemagic Movie Theater, Moonwalk and Party Rentals, the Limestone County Extension Office, the Limestone County Archives, Russell Stover, Dr. Magical Balloons, and the Friends of the Library provided donations and support for the programs and activities during our program. Also, I would like to thank the parents, grandparents, and other caregivers who brought their children to the programs and encouraged them to read during the summer.

A special thank you to Athens High School for loaning us books from its library so that students could complete their required summer reading assignments.

Again, thank you to all who helped make this summer at the Athens-Limestone Public Library such a success!


Kelli McLemore, youth services librarian

Athens-Limestone Public Library

Public’s interests at heart?

Dear Editor:

This is in response to Ms. Garth’s criticism of my July 21 letter.

I wrote, “The trustees want it, let them pay for it,” following a preceding comment regarding excess operating and construction costs of the new library.

Hard to follow? The mayor’s comments to Harvey Craig, library president, via email on Dec. 15, 2010, for which I have written documentation, regarded the estimated budget. Prior to this, they had discussed using 26,000 square feet of the building for the library and 13,000 square feet for joint use by the city and county and the library — not all 39,000 square feet, let alone her newly mentioned, increased, 42,000 square feet.

This is a misrepresentation and an attempt to obfuscate the cost and other pertinent points. 

The projected Library’s operating/maintenance costs, for the city of Athens alone, will increase 30 percent over 2012-2013. This is not even considering other possible construction cost increases. This is at a time of a 12.5 percent sales tax increase and sequestration affecting thousands of jobs in our area.

The library board has continually raised its estimated costs of construction and operating/maintenance costs. When are the library officials going to tell it like it is?  Debbie Joyner was quoted in The News Courier, regarding the operating/maintenance cost budget as being slightly increased. 

All the misleading comments by members of the library foundation will not change the fact they have not been totally open and transparent with the public. This is a bad time to build such a large edifice to satisfy a few people.

I would like to see a square foot per capita public library figure for Athens/Limestone, Florence/Lauderdale, Decatur/Morgan, Madison-Huntsville/Madison county, not counting other library facilities such as Athens State, etc. The mayor has repeatedly stated the city could only build what the city can afford, and also expressed concern about the potential future operating/maintenance costs of the new oversized facility, which may not be covered by funds available.  

Why are the taxpayers funding auditoriums, coffee shops and other unnecessary areas in our new library when we can’t afford badly needed paving for our streets?  What will businesses think?

Again, the special interests seem to override the public’s best interest. We need a new library, not a Taj Mahal. What’s going to pay the bills when the costs are over budget? Higher taxes?  

The library foundation trustees need to put taxpayer’s financial interests first.

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