The Daily Mash-Up

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 This Week's Paper
Brown is the new green for Pierce County libraries

At its June meeting, Pierce County Library System’s Board of Trustees will discuss plans to go brown this summer by not watering lawns on its properties, changes to borrowing books from other library systems, intellectual freedom and other issues.

The Board of Trustees will meet at the Library’s Processing and Administrative Center, 3005 112th St. E., in Tacoma, on Wednesday, June 12, from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Pierce County Library does not plan to water grass on its properties this summer. Of the 19 library properties (18 libraries and the main processing and administrative center), the Library will not water the lawn this summer at 12 locations that have grass. Those include: Bonney Lake, Buckley, Eatonville, Fife, Graham, Lakewood, Parkland/Spanaway, South Hill, Steilacoom, Summit, and Sumner Pierce County Libraries, as well as the Processing and Administrative business office. Not watering saves money and water resources. The Library System anticipates $8,300 in savings from not watering and mowing less. In the Pacific Northwest, homeowners and businesses often go without watering their lawns, and the grass rebounds in the fall.

The Library System is making changes to borrowing books from other libraries, known as the inter-library loan (ILL) service. The changes will make the service easier for people to use and save the Library System money. Starting June 30, a new feature in the Library’s online catalog will let customers search from outside a Pierce County Library building and manage their own accounts for items they may want from another library system. Previously people who wanted a book from a library system outside of Pierce County Library would need to make that request on a computer inside a library building or ask a staff person to fulfill the request. This will make the service available 24/7 from anywhere. The Library will limit customers to three active ILL requests at a time to better manage staff work flow. Customers who request ILL books now will pay for any charges/fees from other libraries. In 2012, the Library paid $7,200.00 in fees from other libraries.

During the next several months, staff will be talking at board meetings with the trustees about intellectual freedom. It is based primarily on the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution Bill of Rights and related court rulings. It is a core principle of libraries and directs the selection of books and other materials and access to the Internet via library computers. Intellectual freedom is also based on the Fourth Amendment and related court decisions regarding an individual’s right to confidentiality in their use of library materials and services. At the June meeting, staff will share how it selects books, movies and other materials based upon intellectual freedom to offer a wide selection with a variety of diverse and opposing points of view.

The Library serves 555,000 people in all of unincorporated Pierce County and 15 cities and towns.

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