Esteemed Los Alamos County Councilors,
In a town not too far from here, the Fire Department is in charge of the
library. It makes sense: books are sensitive both to fire and water, and
who better to protect them? It can sometimes be hard to get questions
answered or find the right book; educational outreach programs are almost
nonexistent; and patrons must accept the irregular hours and unpredictable
closings; but the firefighters care for the books, and the town just
doesn’t know any other way.
In another town just the other direction, the National Guard runs the
school. This school doesn’t have quite as many offerings as some
neighboring schools, nor the same sense of exploration or discovery
encouraged in the students. Questions are discouraged. Classrooms are
stark, simply bare concrete walls. But discipline problems are rare,
and as far as the parents know, it works well enough.
Yet another town, nearer and dearer to us–okay, you know where I’m
going with this. Noone questions the dedication of a firefighter or
guards(wo)man or police officer to their books, pupils, or stray pets:
we have full confidence that each is doing their best, with compassion
and kindness. Can we agree, however, that their background, training,
priorities, and overall mindset cannot match those of career
professionals in library science, education, or animal shelter
management? Visualize each one’s bedtime reading, their continuing
education credits, the seminars they attend, conferences with their
peers. How can each community best be served?
I am thankful to the Los Alamos Police Department for the care they’ve
exercised in their oversight of our Animal Shelter all these years. But
having read the recommendations from the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee
and attended last Tuesday’s Council meeting, I find myself siding with the
animals: they need a staff devoted to their welfare, without conflicting
interests. I encourage you to heed the ASAC’s recommendations.
Thank you for your consideration.