LETTERS: Libraries should build on technology, not new ground
Do we really need another monument to the 19th century by building another mega-library in East Multnomah County? Didn't Multnomah County learn anything from the failures of Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster video and Radio Shack?
First, some kudos to our current library system: They have the all traditional media you know and love. You can reserve any books, DVD's and more from any of Multnomah County library's branches, and they will truck it to the library branch, most convenient for you, where you can pick it up, free!
Second, the internet. Our libraries have internet access on computers in the libraries. You can surf for free! The libraries also have free Wi-Fi if you bring your device to the library.
Next: most of our libraries have meeting spaces for special programming such as seminars, teach-ins, kid's storytelling, reading groups, neighbor groups, playtime, or whatever. Mostly for free!
Given all the ultra awesome stuff our libraries already provide, what would be the value added by building another mega-sized gigantic brick and mortar library in east county? Why spend mega millions to build another mega-sized library? This is 19th century thinking. Brick and mortar is dying away. The "cloud" is the future for libraries.
Why spend hundreds of millions of the tax dollars it would take to build another mega-library? Why spend millions of dollars annually in salary, benefits, etc., for the hundreds of new employees that would be required to staff another mega-library?
Instead, why not spend just a few million bucks (or hit up Bezos, Zuckerberg, Musk etc. for a "donation") and buy tens of thousands of tablets, laptops, and other awesome devices that people could check out from their closest library, just like people now check out books!
Give library patrons hands-on device training at their local branch when they "check out" their device! Just like how the Apple stores and Xfinity stores do it now! Why not add an option for Wi-Fi at a minimal cost. Better yet, people could access free Wi-Fi at the thousands of coffee shops, stores, schools, etc., people use now.
Multnomah County leaders need less Jurassic Park thinking and more Buzz Lightyear creativity. We don't need to go back to the stone age by building a dinosaur of a temple to the past — a mega library. We need to go to "infinity … and beyond!" by investing in modern technology, for all!
Gresham Arts Festival continues to 'amaze'
The wonder and excitement grows every year. On Saturday, July 15th, the city of Gresham came together for the most event filled Gresham Arts Festival in 16 years. If anyone wondered what the face of Gresham looked like all you had to do was walk the streets of our Historic Downtown during the event.
Amazing was the word of the day. Thousands of citizens who live in our community and visitors from Hood River, Seattle, Ridgefield, Madras, Bend, Hillsboro and surrounding areas came and enjoyed what I call "The Gresham Welcome."
We have so much to be proud of. This event started out with 25 artists and maybe 1,500 visitors 16 years ago and has grown to 150 artisans and over 16,000 visitors. The growth of the event is a testament to the support and commitment of the community and the city of Gresham. Truly a day set aside for everybody. From Chalk Art for the Guinness World Record (we won it back from the Canadians) live music, the entire plaza turned into a kid's village to Gresham's got Talent evening show it was just awesome!!
This year the Art Festival added a Friday night kickoff for the first time. It was all about art. The artists donated their work that went into a silent auction. The auction proceeds went to Gresham Outdoor Public Art or GOPA. These funds will help bring public art to our community. The auction raised over $3,300. A new bronze was unveiled on the corner of Third and Main. It is a Blue Heron by artist Heather Soderberg of Cascade Locks. Heather was the artist that created "Driscoll" the guide dog. With this kind of support you will see more public art coming to our community. The public art is really happening with grassroots support and the generosity of the artists.
We have a beautiful city and beautiful people who live and work here. The Gresham Arts Festival celebrates the diversity and cultures of all.
Thank you Mayor Bemis and city of Gresham and a huge thank you to all the sponsors who make this event possible. Thank you to the many volunteers who come at 5:30 a.m. bright and early with smiles on their faces and are ready to make this event happen.
Congratulations to all for another incredible Gresham Arts Festival!!
Next year will be year 17 and I for one can't wait to see what happens.