Friday, June 12, 2009
WIRY Commentator Needs Rewiring
Two groups of people you never eff with: librarians and library patrons.
Recently Ducky Drake, in-house bloviator at WIRY radio, said in a commentary that the Plattsburgh Public Library should be closed down.
Of course, WIRY radio is a for-profit entity, supported by advertiser dollars based upon its audience ratings. The library is non-profit, supported by taxpayer dollars.
And so there’s the problem: Why should taxpayers support the city library?
Ducky claims that other libraries in the city – such as the Plattsburgh State and Clinton-Essex-Franklin libraries – can take over after PPL closes it doors. He implies that the Plattsburgh Public Library is simply a duplication of the efforts by other libraries.
Case in point: PPL’s public access computers. Those computers see a lot of use, especially for those stuck on the wrong side of the digital tracks. I don’t see Plattsburgh State being able to handle the demands of both students and non-students. And CEF doesn’t offer free public access computers.
But Ducky contends that all services now provided by PPL can be had at other libraries. Just throw some money at the other libraries and you can still save a lot.
Let’s face it: the other libraries would have to expand and re-modify their spaces to accommodate more patrons. More people would have to be hired. Any savings would be eaten up by those changes and the additional bureaucratic red tape.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul. And Satan laughs his ass off.
Ducky admits that there has been an upswing in the patronage numbers at the Plattsburgh Public Library. Or to put it in his terms: PPL ratings are going through the roof.
Apparently he heard about that Press-Republican newspaper article that stated the economic downturn has meant more people are trying to save money by borrowing books, tapes, and DVDs free of charge. It probably came to his attention when a fellow employee was skimming the paper to harvest copy for WIRY’s next “news” broadcast.
Anyway, logic would dictate that increased usage should mean more money, not none at all.
The Plattsburgh Public Library has always been a low-priority for the city. For years I documented on my blog how the front entrance to the PPL was falling apart, the steps crumbling away. Orange tape and spray paint marked the danger spots. It looked like something out of war torn Baghdad.
The penny-wise but pound-foolish city would patch up the steps, filling in the cavities, and they just kept disintegrating. It took a major effort to fix them.
That’s the main problem with the city: it wastes money on nonsense while ignoring its infrastructure. It either does cheap temporary fixes, paying more in the long run, or blows its wad on impractical projects like that white elephant called the Crete Center.
The Public Library is a practical operation. It works.
How many free services does WIRY provide to the public? Then again, it’s supported by advertiser dollars, and all it cares about is the bottom line.
Maybe Ducky is joshing a bit, hoping to goose WIRY’s ratings to rake in more ad bucks. I called the station and I gathered there was been a bit of response to his anti-public-library commentary. Like I said, two groups of people you never eff with. I’m in the second group.
If Ducky is serious, then I have this advice for him:
Cover your head with an aluminum foil hat. Prolonged exposure to WIRY’s transmitter has damaged the wiring in your brain.