CONGRATULATIONS ON LIBRARY SYSTEM EXPANSION

February 25, 2002 12:00 am

Readers make leaders. Cooperation opens doors. Last weeks opening of the expanded Pioneer Library System at Eastern Oregon University brings all kinds of promise to the region, including the opportunity for those using the system to learn, grow and expand themselves personally. Establishing this system proves conclusively that people working cooperatively can achieve major goals.

The online network will allow people to see, via computer, what titles are available in 70 member libraries in Eastern Oregon. Patrons can borrow materials from any of the member libraries at no charge.

Easterns service to the region is greatly expanded by this project. It is a national model of service to rural areas, and bridges gaps between the remote communities of our region to overcome provincial tendencies.

The project also shows the capacity of individuals to make a difference. Ken Reading of the Umatilla Library District and Dale Edwards of Treasure Valley Community Colleges library deserve credit for having the original idea for the expansion of the system from 20 to 70 libraries. EOU Library Director Patricia Cutright was among the leaders of the merger project and worked tirelessly to see that it got done and done right. The librarians throughout the system also played key roles in making the expansion possible.

No project of this magnitude, however, can be accomplished without a solid funding base. In this case, providing the main pillars of support were the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Ford Family Foundation and the Collins Foundation.

An area can either evolve or devolve. The expanded Pioneer Library System contributes to our evolution as an educated society. Who knows how many people using this system will expand their knowledge base, grow as individuals and take their place in their communities as leaders? The expanded system is a tribute to the value of forging partnerships and cooperation.

OLYMPIC-SIZED INFLATION

Judging from the high prices charged for food, lodging and venue tickets, visitors who left the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Sunday were lucky to have their wallets still in their

pockets. Reports trickled down that some meals in downtown Salt Lake City were running $90 per plate during the games. One would hope that a lobster or two could be thrown in for that price, but there was no guarantee.

Some visitors paid $200 or higher a night for lodging, and parking downtown ran $30 a day. And then there were the Olympic event tickets themselves, sold by legal scalpers in uniforms on downtown streets. People hoping to find themselves perched in the stands, watching their favorite Olympians go for a medal, had to part with $200 for a single ticket, and often much more than that.

Salt Lake City will have to do some major repair of its image if it wants to attract tourists in the future. The citys new motto will have to be Open for business ... and were not all that spendy after all, or visitors could tend to stay away.