Receipt in hand for donated library materials
To the Eagle:
In response to the letter to The Eagle of two weeks ago written by Cindy Lahti, a.k.a. Cynthia Cook, I feel compelled to reply to the accusations and assumptions she relayed about the Grays River Valley Library and my books.
In 2008 I was given 7,942 fiction and non-fiction books, 114 large print books, 875 children’s books and 145 books on tape as well as 95 DVDs and 67 VHS tapes. I have a receipt in hand that states that fact and the Johnson Park has a copy. These books were never donated to GRVC at JP but were loaned, and I have the loan agreement, as does the JP board.
After my husband’s death in June, I had hoped to return to the library as a full time volunteer (not to run it privately) with several other former volunteers who were knowledgeable in running a library, being retired librarians. I offered to separate the library from the community center, applying for a 501(c)(3) at my own expense, and try to get grants that would benefit the library as well as the building in which it is housed. As it is a government building, it is nearly impossible to get grants.
I did not go the county commissioners with a proposal prior to making a proposal to the Johnson Park (JP) board of directors. I had spoken to another volunteer, and he took it upon himself to go to the commissioners without my knowledge until after the fact. My proposal was rejected by the JP board, and a counter proposal was presented to me, which I accepted with a few minor tweaks, and I asked for that proposal in writing. That didn’t happen either, and I was told how I could run it, how many days a week, and I would be on six months probation, I wasn’t permitted to have the code to the door of the library and I couldn’t do anything in the library without the okay of the library committee. I didn’t feel that I could work with such a controlling board with many other more pressing issues to deal with at Johnson Park than pushing me out of the library that I was instrumental in creating.
Yes, I have removed the books from the GRVC library and must handle each and every one of them to see if they are mine or theirs. I asked the board to close the library for the few weeks it would take to go through the process of separating my books from theirs. It would have been simpler for all of us if they hadn’t moved the books from the former room and mixed them all up, boxed many of them and stored them on the stage and put many more of them in the cold, damp hallways as if they were free to the public. The books are here in my home in a 10x12 foot room, floor to ceiling, dry and safe. So far I have gone through about one third of them. When I have completed this task, the board can come and retrieve the books that belong to the Grays River Valley Library.
I acknowledge the fact that many of my books are no longer here due to book sales donations and not being returned, and I have a signed receipt saying that. As an added fact, I donated all the DVDs and VHS tapes that were given to me to the GRVC library when I removed the books and I renewed my yearly sponsorship. I am disappointed and hurt that things did not work out but I wish the board well.
As for Cindy Lahti, I’m not sure where she got some of her facts, and I wonder if she was at some of the same meetings that I attended. Where did she come up with how many books were donated and how many were loaned? Mike Backman was not the first person to tell me to take all the books and return the ones that were not mine, Denise Blanchard was.
There will be another community library opened in the near future with my books, the ones that were never donated but loaned to Johnson Park. Stay tuned.