Letter: Criticism of librarian misleading, inaccurate
This is in response to the misleading and inaccurate letter written last week by Linda Hernandez, titled "‘Public’ library not overly welcoming."
The Mathews County Public Library has a policy approved by the Board of Trustees and endorsed by head librarian Bette Dillehay, that tutors can use the facility as long as they are not doing anything illegal or disturbing other patrons. Finding a quiet spot may well be tricky sometimes as there are so many community meetings, special seasonal events and local residents taking advantage of all that our library has to offer, as well as some areas reserved for certain activities such as the use of laptop computers or conferences.
There is no guarantee, therefore, that a certain spot will always be available, so to criticize Mrs. Dillehay for explaining that is unfair, as she was just anticipating possible future circumstances. Note that she did try to accommodate the child and her tutor by providing the conference room on one occasion when it was not in use, and the upstairs loft another time. She cannot be held responsible for a broken air conditioning system or the fact that hot air rises.
The accusation that Mrs. Dillehay has an unwelcoming attitude and doesn’t like children is even more serious, preposterous and personally hurtful however. One has only to consider the range of programs sponsored by her specifically for our local children, from preschool through high school to see that she is a most hardworking, creative and imaginative leader who deserves our respect and appreciation.
Many of us have had children or grandchildren participate in the four-week summer program (this year "The Wonders of the World"), the Spring Break "Fantasy Trip," the summer Highland Games, the Christmas "Deck the Halls," the "Story Time" held every week for preschool through kindergarten, the "Bed Time Story," a monthly event. Add to this, help from the children’s librarian during the school year from 3 to 4 p.m. with online tutoring, and at other times help with books and computers, and now the new teen learning center right next door, which will be both a learning center and advocacy opportunity for our youth. Do these exciting learning opportunities and stimulating programs sound like they emanate from someone who doesn’t like children?
A few years back, under Mrs. Dillehay’s guidance, the Mathews County Public Library won the national prize for the top small library in the whole country. She and her whole staff performed and continue to perform in an exemplary manner. Sometimes the star at the top helps the whole tree twinkle.
Nina C. Allen
Cobbs Creek, Va.