Sunday, July 30, 2017
[Kern County] My Thoughts: Grand Jury report doesn’t mince words, but a few suggestions
I read the Kern County Grand Jury report on the Kern County Library as well as the story in the July 19 Daily Independent.
The report did not mince words, which is a good thing, but I question the process.
The report stated the Health, Education, and Social Services Committee inspected the KCL main branch and office at 701 Truxtun Avenue Feb. 20, 2017 in Bakersfield.
The committee met and interviewed the interim library Director, the library business manager and library staff.
The report also stated the committee also reviewed past Grand Jury reports, the internet and the KCL website for information.
This is all well and good, but you really cannot judge the performance of 24 branches of the library system based on a visit to one branch.
There was no mention of the Friends of the Library’s efforts to support their respective branches. For example, the Friends of the Ridgecrest Branch hold book sales and other fundraisers to purchase books and other library materials.
During my newspaper career, I covered many events at the local branch.
The grand jury made some very good recommendations.
The first is the Kern County Board of Supervisors should seriously consider options for the library’s management, such as modifying and updating the job description of the Director of Libraries, and the minimum qualifications required to manage a modern library system.
Here is MY suggestion for the library’s management. I suggest a joint-powers authority made up of the county and the incorporated cities.
Where I live, we have the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, which serves Pinellas County residents in member cities and the unincorporated county. The cooperative office provides coordination of activities and funding as well as marketing services for its member libraries.
This cooperative has its own governing board made up of representatives of member cities, the county and other members. It also has its own staff headed up by an executive director. The board meets once a month, and the meetings are open to the public.
Having a structure such as this would be a good way to implement the grand jury’s other recommendations.
The Board of Supervisors really needs to look at this approach.
July 22, 2017
Taft Midway Driller
By John V. Ciani