Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ray Dale

It’s all about responsibility and respect

Literary Junction
As some of you may already know, the Big Horn County Library is not my only gig. I also have a part-time, weekend job working as the caretaker for the fishing access sites along the Bighorn River. It brings in a bit of extra money, which is nice, but I also like the fact that it gives me a chance to try and help make a contribution to my little corner of the world. 
Now that being said, two days ago I went out to Arapooish (Koyama’s pond to locals) and was greeted with a mess of biblical proportions. It looked like an Oklahoma trailer park after the tornado went through. I picked up everything from pizza boxes, to dirty diapers to beer and whiskey bottles. 
I have to say, I was quite annoyed at the whole affair. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not griping about picking up garbage. After all, that’s what I’m paid to do. 
What I’m angered about is this small group of people who think they are entitled to leave a huge mess. This place belongs to all of us. Quite frankly, this trash should make you mad as well. You should not have to look at the remnants of the irresponsible and selfish behavior exhibited by what I am sure is a very small percentage of the people that use the place. 
I would never even bring it up in this forum, were it not for the fact that the exact same thing happens in the library. Many is the time I have found the remains of someone’s fast food lunch lying under or around the chairs upstairs in the teen area, often lying right under the sign that says “No Food Of Drinks Allowed.” We quite regularly find torn paper, tissues, pop cans and candy wrappers all over the floor in corners that aren’t covered by the security cameras. I actually once found a dirty diaper tucked into one of the bookshelves. 
About the most aggravating are sunflower seeds. They are usually stuck in the fibers of the carpet and have to be picked up individually by hand. As for the restrooms, sometimes I feel that I need to don a hazmat suit.
I have said in earlier articles that a library should be treated with what amounts to a kind of reverence, because of the kind of place it is. It shouldn’t be a place where it’s acceptable to leave it trashed. 
Big Horn County and the community of Hardin are lucky to have a library of this caliber. We often hear compliments from visitors, who tell us what a wonderful library we have and how their communities would love to have such a facility. 
People come here to read, learn and, in some way, improve themselves. This is your library, yours and mine. 
Those few individuals who are leaving their trash and mess here are disrespecting much more than a building. They are thumbing their noses at all of us who hold this place and what it represents in the highest of regard. I believe the library deserves much better, and what’s more, you deserve better as well.