The Question Remains: Why Discard So Many Library Books?

Though I appreciate Melinda Cervantes (Mailbag, Aug. 2) taking the time to respond to my Guest Commentary (July 5), she doesn't answer the basic question I was asking. Namely: Why is it that our library is next to last in the number of books it has per resident (among public libraries serving a comparably sized area) when it spends enough money on books to be in the middle of the pack? Especially when the library's shelves are sitting half empty!

No amount of rationalizing the library's aggressive discard policy will explain to me why the library doesn't keep the many relevant and contemporary titles that it currently discards.

Greg Evans

The Legislature Harmed Marist-Restoration Efforts by Killing the Heritage Fund

Finally, some encouraging developments regarding the historic Marist College ("Marist Maneuvers," Currents, Aug. 9). The question of financing the restoration may never have arisen if the Arizona Legislature had not diverted the entire State Parks Heritage Fund balance in 2010, before eliminating the fund altogether in 2011.

In 1990, Arizona voters approved the Heritage Fund by a margin of nearly 2-to-1. In its 20-year existence, the Parks Heritage Fund invested nearly $200 million from the lottery in new parks and park improvements. Heritage restoration grants have helped preserve important parts of our rich cultural heritage.

If the Parks Heritage Fund were intact, the Marist College restoration would have been eligible for a grant. Instead, the Legislature put our City Council in the difficult position of using block-grant funds.

This year, the Arizona Heritage Alliance made a good-faith effort to work with the Legislature to restore the Parks Heritage Fund. After a promising beginning, HCR 2047 stalled. In May, the Arizona State Parks Foundation filed an initiative to place the Arizona Natural Resources Protection Act on the November 2012 ballot. Unfortunately, our mostly volunteer effort did not collect the 172,000 signatures needed.

William C. Thornton, Arizona Heritage Alliance

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