January 10, 2013 | Back to: News

Guest Column: Skeptical of eLearning Cafe proposal for Incline library

Kathryn Kelly is currently petitioning the Washoe County Library Board to enter into a joint agreement with eLearning Cafe which I feel will fundamentally alter our local Washoe County Library in Incline Village, and possibly all Washoe County Libraries.

I can't imagine where in the library that she plans to expand her nonprofit, as the west end of the library is a study and research area, away from the children's learning part of the library, and is, in fact, well used and appreciated. The rest of the facility also seems well laid out to serve the library patrons' needs. That, in my mind, makes it unavailable for her enterprise use.

She also seems to have little understanding as to what it takes to manage a library collection or the value of a good research librarian, as demonstrated by her staffing recommendations, which include using eLearning Cafe staff to somehow augment the current library staff - though it is not clear in what capacity, or what qualifications they have to staff library positions.

Ms. Kelly touts her enterprise as a nonprofit. If her nonprofit is granted a presence in the library, I can think of many other nonprofits who might wish a presence there, also. It might be a bad precedent to set.

A reminder - being a nonprofit does not mean that someone is not getting well paid to advance his or her own agenda.

The library is currently expanding its staff and hours of operation as the economy improves, to better serve its patrons. I would hate to see such an efficient and well-run operation compromised by the ambitions of a private enterprise.

Government statutes are put in place - not to impede private enterprise, as was suggested by Ms. Kelly in the recent Clark School article regarding their charter school application withdrawal - but to protect the public from ill-conceived ideas postulated by well-funded, well-connected, and even well-meaning citizens.

While I generally support some type of adjunct alternative learning venue for our community, I feel that this petition, if approved, will detract from library operations which are currently efficient, laid out appropriately, and serve the public well.

For those of you who support the library in its current state, please email a letter to the Washoe County Library Board of Trustees at libraryboard@washoecounty.us.

For those of you who have signed Ms. Kelly's petition, please do your homework, reconsider and make sure that Ms. Kelly's ambition really reflects your library needs and desires.

- David Briscoe is an Incline Village resident and frequent Incline Village Library patron.



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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 10, 2013 11:33AM Published Jan 10, 2013 11:32AM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.