CHICAGO—In a unanimous decision, the Killeen, TX, City Council voted to amend its budget and maintain the Copper Mountain Library, one of only two facilities in Killeen’s library system. The American Library Association (ALA) and Public Library Association (PLA) coordinated with the Texas Library Association and local library supporters to urge the City Council to reverse a proposal to close this branch that serves hundreds of residents daily.
ALA President Julie Todaro and PLA President Felton Thomas submitted a letter to the City Council, noting the high daily use of the library and its resources, from its well-attended storytime to its support for job seekers and military personnel from the nearby Ft. Hood Army base. Todaro and Thomas added, “Often we claim that the value of a library is not in the building itself. Yet the physical location of the Copper Mountain Branch supports community in unique ways because families stationed at the nearby military base seek not only programming and resources, but a sense of familiarity and stability that can be so elusive with frequent relocations. It also offers a point of connection between military and civilian residents, who come together for programming, events, or simply to read side-by-side.”
Both the joint ALA/PLA letter and a letter from the Texas Library Association were read aloud at the Council meeting by Killeen school librarians with longstanding personal and professional ties to the Killeen Public Libraries. City Council Member Jonathan Okray welcomed the ALA letter and, stated after the meeting, “I believe that public libraries, [and] the availability of them within communities, are not debatable.” He also acknowledged the impact of a coordinated community response on his colleagues’ decision to reverse the proposal.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
About the Public Library Association
PLA is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.