Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Voters need accurate information

Dear Editor, 

Regarding the movement to dissolve the library, there’s a lot of information that isn’t being represented accurately and in its entirety. To start, I keep hearing that “after a yearlong battle, a petition to dissolve the library was the only option left,” and yet public records show the first book challenge happened in September 2022, and the first signature on the petition was in February 2023. That is not a “yearlong battle.”

Furthermore, many individuals were told that this petition was to specifically address several inappropriate books, but that was apparently not an option that could be exercised before the “last resort” petition to dissolve the district. There is a narrative that the library board is unresponsive, but all the books with sex-ed-related information and diagrams now have new homes. It’s being said over and over again that the library board and director will not work with the public, but yet again, public records requests show that of the (very few) books actually challenged this year in the Young Adult fiction section, many were moved. (Two books by Colleen Hoover come to mind if you’d like to request the records yourself.) Even this list of “100 explicit books for children” is primarily made up of books in the adult and young adult sections. That list also skews the age group of the “young adult” section just enough to make it seem like it’s aimed at people under 18 and preteens (reporting the section as being for 11-17-year-olds) when in actuality, it’s aimed at people in middle school and high school- teenagers. It’s a broad category, and not everything appropriate for a 17/18-year-old is appropriate for a 12/13-year-old, but that’s where parental responsibility comes in.

These are all small discrepancies that work together to paint a more nefarious image of our local library than what is reality. Lastly, I keep hearing from people who refuse to go into the library and look for themselves because “so and so said- and I trust them.” When it comes to dissolving such a valuable service, we need to verify information for ourselves. Civic engagement comes hand in hand with civic duty. Dayton deserves a 21st-century library, and we have one. To let it be dissolved based on information that isn’t fully accurate would be a travesty. Vote no to dissolving the library.

Darlene Ingram

Dayton, Wash.


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