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Letters to the editor

Cassie Perlmutter

Who took the “public” out of the Vail Library?One of the greatest institutions in our country next to public education is the public library system. As the American Library Association points out in its mission statement, its charge is to improve library and information services “in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” Imagine my surprise as I was checking out books on killer whales for my 5 year old when my Vail Public Library card was confiscated! That’s almost tantamount to being disenfranchised. I know I have run up fines for not having returned “Aladdin” videos or perhaps an “I Spy” or “Super Challenger” on time. But this time I knew I was current with the establishment, as I had shelled out at least $30 on my last visit, and I had been super-conscientious on returning items since then.What I discovered was that the town librarian (whatever that is) had determined that I had accrued too many fines (whatever that means) and that she questioned my Vail residency and cancelled my card. (Funny, if the library is no longer public, then why would my paying property taxes matter?) My son didn’t understand what had transpired, and neither did I.What I do know is that as a public school teacher, part-time in Denver, and as a former staffer in the office of the president of the New York Public Library, access to a public library opens the world. On many occasions I had the distinct honor of being with authors the likes of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Cynthia Ozick, Tom Wolfe and Barbara Tuchman. What all of them had in common was that they felt they owed much of their success to New York’s public libraries, where the research required to be the writers they became could take place.When I had a regular classroom, the greatest gift I could give students at the beginning of the year was a library card application (available in English and Spanish). All that was required to receive a card (and librarians always issued them to me if I had personally delivered the applications) was a written address and a signature by the parent. I was then confident that my students had equal access and opportunity to what they needed to be academically successful.And now, I guess, I must do as many are forced to do who have a decent means of transportation – go on downvalley to the Avon Public Library to do my bidding.In the meantime, however, there needs to be serious introspection by the powers that be on the Vail Library’s mission because as far as I can tell, it is not aligned with that of a public library. Of course, as the name suggests, it no longer is.Cassie PerlmutterStarting anewI enjoyed being a pharmacist to many of you for much of the past 20 years. That includes second-home owners and frequent visitors. I consider all of you to be the best people on the planet, and I miss you very much. No other place will ever be as good as the Vail Valley for me. It’s my home.Sometimes circumstances do not allow a person to make his own choices. That was the case with me. I have no desire to air my misfortunes here. In fact, I prefer to put them behind me. If you like, I could provide you with the short version on a personal basis, as there is nothing terriibly bad about it. I am not angry towards anyone.It might be crazy, but I would like to once again be your pharmacist, hopefully until my retirement this time. I began my research on opening my own pharmacy in Avon a few months ago and am doing my best to develop a solid business plan in time for the next ski season. It would be very helpful to hear your comments, in any form that you prefer. While taking on two chains in a small town may not seem wise, I am more than willing to work my butt off in order to again be your pharmacist.It would be a pharmacy such as you have never seen. I promise that I would not only give you the best customer service possible, but also some unique items for sale as well as entertainment. Yes, it’s an unusual claim for a pharmacy, but I want all of my customers to be able to smile, even when you are not feeling well. I know that many of you suffer from severe medical issues, and I truly wish you well. I think of you often and pray that you can overcome your hardships.My e-mail is seguess@comcast.net. My telephone number is 331-7490, and my address is P.O. Box 3825, Avon. Because I am frequently working far from home, my cell phone does not always work, but I would gladly return calls when possible if you willl leave voice mail. I would like to know how all of you are doing.Steve GuessAvonVail, Colorado


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