Let board know what you think
They won't be walking down a runway in the latest fashions, but candidates for the Urbana library's top job will be on display.
Patrons of the Urbana Free Library were sorely exercised last summer when a controversy broke out over what many considered to be the excessive culling of books from its collection.
The dispute ultimately resulted in a decision by the board to relieve the library's director of her duties and begin the search for a successor. The process is approaching the end stage, with the board selecting three finalists and bringing them to town for library patrons and taxpayers to meet.
Celeste Choate, associate director of the Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library, attended a public reception on Monday. The board has scheduled additional sessions on Friday for Sarah Rosenblum, director of the Marshalltown (Iowa) Public Library and Feb. 10 for Debra Stombres, director of the Aurora Public Library's Eola Road Branch.
The receptions are being held on the library's first floor in the MacFarlane-Hood Reading Room. They start at 4:30 p.m., and the candidates will speak at 5 p.m.
This is the public's chance to meet and size up the finalists for this important position. Given all the tumult that led to this vacancy — not to mention the hard feelings on both sides of the controversy — library supporters ought to take advantage of this opportunity.
This sort of public showcase of the candidates makes good sense. But when it comes to the search process, public bodies don't always show good judgment. They often shroud their decisions in unnecessary secrecy.
So the library board deserves credit for its open approach. At the same time, the board's openness confers a responsibility on people who care about the library to see what's up and let their opinions be known.