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Published: Thursday, 4/30/2009

Library world lost a leader

The library world and all who cherish the freedom to read lost one of its most prolific anti-censorship advocates on April 15, when Judith Krug, a librarian and director of the American Library Association's office for Intellectual Freedom for more than 40 years, died at the age of 69. Those who champion the cause of intellectual freedom, libraries and newspapers alike, consider her life's work of fighting book bans and other censorship missions vital in upholding the honor of the First Amendment.

What made Ms. Krug shine was her passion for democracy. She established Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of free expression and books that are the most challenged in libraries.

I was lucky to have worked with her and long admired her opposition to the notion that libraries should ban the books they offer to patrons.

A New York Times editorial captured her advocacy best when quoting a 2002 talk Ms. Krug gave where she stated that libraries must carry information and ideas across the spectrum of social and political thought: "Some users find materials in the local library collection to be untrue, offensive, harmful, or even dangerous. But libraries serve the information needs of all of the people in the community - not just the loudest, not just the most powerful, not even just the majority. Libraries serve everyone."

I, along with countless librarians and those in the library arena, encourage the community to keep Judith Krug's memory alive by continuing to protect one of the greatest institutions of all democracies - the library.

Clyde Scoles

Director

Toledo-Lucas County

Public Library

I was never very good at math, but I still do not understand why Toledo City Council approved spending nearly $10 million on trash cans. I must be missing something.

Why in the world would council approve spending that much money when we are faced with laying off 150 police officers?

I would gladly pay for my own modern trash cans if we can keep police officers on duty.

The No. 1 responsibility of council is to provide safety for the people who live and work in Toledo.

I hope the voters remember this when the Nov. 3 election rolls around.

George W. Weidner

Barrows Street

As a Toledo area native who lived in the economically vibrant communities of Silicon Valley in California and the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina in the 1980s, I see the same factors that contributed to their economic success are gaining strength in our community.

First, is the role of local universities in using their research and facilities to contribute to the formation of new businesses. The University of Toledo has been doing exactly this in a wide range of fields. For example, UT played a role in the formation or expansion of several area solar product manufacturers such as First Solar, Solar Fields (now Calyxo), and Xunlight.

UT's research in the areas of drug design and development is leading to the formation of new businesses for treating Alzheimer's and breast cancer. In a recent study commissioned by the National Science Foundation, UT was ranked 7th in the nation based on research expenditures in the creation of spin-off businesses from university technology.

Second, the restructured Regional Growth Partnership is successfully encouraging the formation of technology based entrepreneurial start-up companies. For example, their monthly "Tech Connect" event facilitates new start-ups by providing a forum for entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, and entrepreneurial service providers to meet. RGP also offers other programs such as "Launch," which provides various professional services to entrepreneurs and "Rocket Ventures," which provides early stage venture funding.

Third, the decline in union representation in our region is well under way. This reduces business risk. As the influence of unions diminishes, more entrepreneurs and corporations will step forward to risk their capital on new enterprises and factory start-ups as well as expansions, thereby creating more jobs.

Don't underestimate the collective impact of these three transformational forces at work today in our region. This is a proven recipe which will lead to a more dynamic and vibrant local economy for years to come.

Scott Buehrer

Monclova Township

Take Back Toledo wants to recall Mayor Carty Finkbeiner because he "makes bad decisions" and "is an embarrassment to the city."

Excuse me, guys, but having the Board of Elections work for three days to verify 40,000 signatures - half of which were not valid - to get a recall petition on the Nov. 3 ballot is a "bad decision" and an "embarrassment to the city." What a perfect waste of time, money, and effort.

What will you have accomplished if you are successful?

To tell a man who probably won't run - or if he does, probably won't win - that he isn't wanted? What's the point? Will Toledo be a better city because its mayor is recalled on the same day a new mayor is elected? That happens anyway, doesn't it? What do you do if the recall is successful and Carty decides to run again and wins? What then will have been your point?

The newspapers are full of politicians who are embarrassments to their constituents. Carty may have his moments, but he doesn't even come close to measuring up to the likes of, say, Rod Blagojevich or Larry Craig.

I'd say if you really want to "take back Toledo," start finding creative ways to make it a better city or improving the employment rate - something that actually brings and keeps people in the city. Forget the recall. It's pointless.

Tom McCarty

Sylvania

I have been following the events surrounding the City of Toledo's latest budget problem and a few items cause me concern.

The city now charges your insurance company for responses to automobile accidents and transportation in medical emergencies, and now it is proposing charging to respond to house fires.

So what exactly does the 0.75 percent income tax provide me? Is this pay-to-play with my well-being?

We already are held hostage by having ourgarbage fees included in our water bills. Don't pay it and you don't shower or drink.

What's next, detailed billing for crime reports, charges according to the amount of snow received andremoval during winter driving season, and other hidden fees?

City leaders need to stop gouging the people who pay their salaries and benefits. We don't needat-large council members, mayoral spokesmen, and their support staffs.

If this is the change you can believe in, well, frankly, I can hardly believe it.

Robert J. Zuber

Roywood Drive

We need to reconsider eliminating police officer positions in the schools. These few officers have a direct effect on literally thousands of kids.

They are in constant contact every day in the hallways, enforcing the law and making everyone else in the buildings feel safe. I can t think of another position that generates more of a direct impact to more people on a daily basis. Also, a portion of their salary is picked up by the school system.

Don t get me wrong: Every single officer is very important, but give this another look, please.

Steve Harrison

Perrysburg



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