Saturday, July 17, 2010

What Got To Me Today: Flying fish grounded

Saline District Library has got to be one of the most welcoming gathering places for families in our city.  It has a warm community feel paired with separate areas for everyone, all of which boast every resource imaginable to meet the needs of each individual visitor.  The staff and overall services of the library are so considerate of their patrons, so genuinely interested in those who enter, so so so attentive to the needs of each and every book lover, computer user, class taker, student studier, card holder, young and old.

This being said, you can imagine my surprise when I learned a recent art installment created by young library patrons and other community art groups had upset some members of the community.  Let me explain.  This summer, the Saline District Library, along with Saline Parks and Rec, Two Twelve Arts Center, SDMA and the City of Saline have implemented a program called "Make a Splash Saline."  The idea is to engage residents in the creative spirit of fun in the sun and water-theme based activities which include everything from a fishy library wall in the juvenile readers section and SCUBA night presentations to Under the Sea Puppet Shows and storytimes with swimming.

The most noticeable activity however, and perhaps the perfect visual of the summer theme, is the Windsock Art Installation visible all around town.  Kids and patrons of the library led by other community art groups, created a beautiful windsock to sail above the library.  Other windsocks were also created and displayed around town in shops and businesses for a Fish Finder treasure hunt, as well as for sheer decoration, whimsy and enjoyment. In honor of the event, and as the true representative of "Make A Splash Saline", the library chose to hang their windsock high and proud on their flagpole, temporarily replacing the American flag.  Unfortunately, this upset some members of the community.  In true form for the library, which strives to consider the feelings of everyone in the community, a note from the SDL director today stated:

"We certainly would never mean to create hard feelings in the community. We have moved the windsock to an alternate location and raised the flag back on the flagpole. We always appreciate hearing from our patrons and friends and strive to create a local resource where all members feel valued."

That's our library for you, so considerate, so genuinely interested, so attentive. I would expect nothing less. Certainly, they felt this was the right move and I applaud their ability to correct any discomfort.  So why is this "What Got To Me Today"? I just can't get my head around the idea that someone must have thought the library was being, I don't know, unpatriotic?  Insensitive? Biased even? by showcsing the art created by the community's children?

As far as I'm concerned the SDL is the absolute one place in our city that is none of the above.  It is the most politically correct venue I've observed.  It is the epitome of community, where all are respected and all are free to gather without predjudice.  There is no doubt, if you look within their walls and their programming, their commitment to community, family, and country is evident.  They fly the American flag every single day, and thought it might be special for the kids who created the wind sock to see their work from the library's highest point, visible far and wide.  It was a temporary substitution to give a visual to the community and city-wide summer celebration.  If ever there was a time to temporarily substitute the American flag, with all due respect, this was it.

Of course, this is just me in a shark infested rant, and no, my kid wasn't one of the windsock creators.  I was just rubbed a little the wrong way by the idea there were some out there who actually thought the library was acting a bit short of duty.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

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