Will Minnesota be the first state to corportize its public libraries?


Steve Fesenmaier writes: \"Last week Library Journal finally posted a story on the Minneapolis library board wanting to change the city charter so that they can hire a non-librarian, and pay the non-librarian more. During the last half decade it seems that Minnesota leaders have decided to NOT support its world-famous librarians, and indeed, wage war against them. First it was Sanford Berman in spring 1999, being forced out by his supposed anti- OCLC attitudes. Next it was state leaders who decided to be the first state to close its state library. Now Minneapolis library leaders want to do away with the MLS-requirement for its largest municipal public library. As a native of Minnesota, and a graduate of its now-closed Masters Library School at the University of Minnesota, I have become more and more angry and discouraged that Minnesota\'s leaders don\'t understand the need for librarians who believe in service like world-leaders such as Berman. All of Berman\'s many battles over the years in Minnesota helped all of Minnesota\'s librarians, library boards, and patrons. Has Minnesota decided it doesn\'t want librarians who will help the homeless climb out of their intellectual hollow that keeps them in poverty? Does Minnesota state leaders want the public library system to flounder, and perhaps be taken over by 3M? Have they not learned from the tragedies in large libraries such as San Francisco\'s public library that was forced to almost destroy itself so that it could become a \"library of the future?\" Hopefully when Gov. Ventura leaves office, and a more civic minder governor takes office, the state will re-built its state library as some Minnesota library leaders desire. Hopefully Minneapolis leaders will reject the board\'s attempt to destroy its own long tradition of hiring MLS-trained library leaders. And hopefully HCL will apologize to Sandy Berman and many other librarians in its system that have valued people over profits.\"

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