Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Our View: Vandals help decide where cash is spent

May 30, 2007

News of the vandalism earlier this month at Tonganoxie Public Library was, to be sure, disheartening.

Perhaps somebody was perturbed by an overdue book fine. Maybe they were "shusshed" one time too often by a librarian. It could have been that a long-awaited book already was checked out by another patron and the ensuing angst had to be acted upon.

Actually, it's doubtful any of those reasons led the vandal or vandals to throw rocks through a window on the southeast side of the library. It probably was just somebody or somebodies doing something stupid.

Mayor Mike Vestal may have said it best when he noted: "I don't know if they don't have anything better to do or what."

But the mayor was right when he continued, "It costs us taxpayers money to repair that stuff."

And that's what's wrong with vandalism. The victims -- in this case Tonganoxie taxpayers -- have to shell out money that could have been spent elsewhere. Those discretionary funds no longer exist.

In this case, the library will have to pay for the broken window and the replacement and installation of decals that had been taken from on the building.

On top of that, library board members now will consider security measures to try to combat future vandalism. One of those measures could include a new security camera for the building.

Call us silly, but the idea of buying a security camera rather than new books seems anathema for a library, but that's just the scenario the library's board faces.

We hope such a camera will help thwart any future vandalism. We also hope the board can get back to working on issues meaningful to the library's mission.

Meanwhile, good luck to the authorities in determining who is responsible for the vandalism. It seems a waste to have to haul somebody into Municipal Court to answer for what some might think of as a prank, but vandalism needs to be stopped.

A Municipal Court fine takes away some precious discretionary funding, too.

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