Read the runes

Letters to the Boston editor, March 7, 2008
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  March 5, 2008

Regarding your editorial, “Menino Aims To Take Another Bite Out of the BPL”: as a user of the special collections at the Boston Public Library, I have been appalled at the light coverage of key service desks necessitated by staff cuts over the past several years. In order to get a book that has arrived through interlibrary loan, the research-desk librarian must find and then deliver the materials to the waiting patron. There are not enough people to run the program on a full-time basis.

In addition, the Rare Books Room, also ably staffed by a tiny group, is open only Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm, which excludes all those whose work schedules prevent them from visiting the library during those hours. Cataloguing for such collections must be done on an ongoing basis; staff cuts prevent such essential behind-the-scenes work. You would almost think this isn’t Boston, the home of 100 schools and the Hub of the Universe of learning.

The city has a responsibility to maintain its resources for others’ use: this is not an appeal for the support of items used by the rich and famous. This concern springs from a desire to see those “bridge” resources that assist teachers, writers, researchers, and others with interpreting Boston’s thick cultural values. I agree with the Phoenix’s stance: the mayor’s dismissive, philistine attitude is dangerous and all too well hidden behind his aw-shucks mien. To deserve its reputation down the road, Boston needs to be mindful of the principles of wise curatorship. We are so lucky to have such cultural riches. But it will take wisdom to remain so.

Donna La Rue
Arlington

Your editorial about Mayor Tom Menino and the Boston Public Library was spot on, but God Almighty, when are you going to realize that nothing is going to change as far as Boston’s elected officials go? Menino, the City Council, Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi, State Senate president Therese Murray, state senators Dianne Wilkerson and Jack Hart, state representatives Brian Wallace and Martin Walsh, etc. — it cannot get any worse than this. Still, no matter how bad things get, these whatevers keep getting sent back to office. You think it’s because they do such a great job? It’s because the people who live in Boston do not give a damn about how the city is run, as long as it doesn’t concern their jobs or their pensions. Apathetic is the word, but actually, pathetic is more like it.

Mike Arnold
Dorchester

A call to action
I am appalled with and disappointed in the Phoenix’s coverage of the presidential election. It is covered as though it were merely a horse race or some news appropriately provided by entertainment television and gossip columnists. Such coverage is typical of the major corporate media, but I had always found the Phoenix’s political articles about Boston, the Commonwealth, and the nation to be far more thoughtful. I know that political-campaign consultants advise their candidates to avoid taking a clear stand on issues, but it is not the role of the media to take their advice. When the candidates speak, they at least allude to their positions on issues.

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