To the Readers' Forum:
Does the Prendergast Library Board view the public as adversaries, rather than partners, in building a valued institution in the community? The public attended a meeting on Sept. 20, and speakers were given a 3-minute limit to make comments, but no microphone was provided. This impeded understanding since many could not hear what was said.
Discussions between board members were also unintelligible because with the distance between the board and the public, very little could be heard. People were straining forward, trying to capture the words of the speakers.
The picture in The Post-Journal (Sept. 21, page A3) shows quite literally how isolated the public was in relation to the board. The board is shown around a table, facing each other and directing comments between themselves. The effect is to cut off the public from the proceedings.
Quoting from the Public Meetings Law: "It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. The people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who are their public servants."
If we are to understand the decisions which will influence what may happen to Prendergast Library, it is basic to be able to hear what the board is saying. The board needs to follow the law as stated. The patrons of the library must be able to assess what is being discussed and they can only do this if the board is audible to all.