Letters to the Editor for Oct. 15, 2010

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

Mary Heriza's stories will linger

To the editor:

Many people remember the "Story Lady" Mary Heriza who just passed away recently after living here in Baker City for most of her life, raising eight children. Between 1970 and 1990 she was a weekly presence on the local radio KBKR, reading stories to children. It was an honor for me celebrating her life at her funeral, even though I only knew her as a kind, gentle parishioner for the past five years.

Mary wrote two little books, 50 pages each about her memories of 80 to

90 years ago, "Glimpses of Childhood 1911-1924" and "Random

Recollections 1918-2005," both written in good English with a humorous

style.Since they tell us a lot about what life was like in the early

20th century, wouldn't it be a great idea if some of our local schools

would include them in their curriculum? They are short and very easy

reading, but what a legacy if these memories were cherished by our

children, as theyappreciate how tough, how different, yet how simple

life was80 to 90 years ago.

Father Julian Cassar

St. Francis De Sales Cathedral

Baker City

Library fees, schedules clarified

To the editor:

I appreciate the help with announcing upcoming changes to library

policy, but was disappointed to see the emphasis on fee "boosts,"

several errors and important context missing.

I hope you'll allow me to clarify. Firstly, the proposed changes come

not from me, but are the Sage Library System's standardization of

policies amongst its 46 members. Sage is the consortium that hosts our

catalog and manages interlibrary loan service.The new rules are

intended to decrease confusion and enhance users' library experience as

borrowing continues to increase.

In Baker County libraries, the late book fee hasn't changed for over 20

years.While in 1990, stamps were just 25 cents, postage stamps alone

are now 44 cents and rising again in January 2011.Our new rate of 20

cents per day is based on minimal recovery costs for notices mailed the

second day an item is overdue. We are decreasing the exorbitant $1/day

fee on videos to 20 cents since that high rate is no longer necessary

and creates a barrier to access for many.Videos are a small portion of

our collection (5 percent), but hugely popular (25-30 percent of

checkouts) and increasingly so since the recent closure of Movie


We're unsure how this decrease/increase of late fees will impact our

budget but have planned for a 40 percent reduction this fiscal

year.We'll keep checking our costs and expenses and should the 20-cent

rate prove higher than necessary, we'll reduce it.

Secondly, Monday's article miscommunicated that a three-week loan

applies to all items, including DVD and videos.We've decided to go

with your error.A single loan period with flat 20-cent fine rate for

all items simplifies matters even more and we expect films will

continue to be returned within a week anyway.

I hope this information helps clarify matters.With the convolutions of

the former overdue rate and loan system, it's no wonder you got a few

things wrong. In any event, the Library District's endeavor to provide

outstanding customer service with fiscal responsibility is something we

think everyone can understand.Thanks again for your support.

Perry Stokes

Director, Baker County Library District

The Baker City Herald
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