SLUDGE POT RECIPIENT PRICE RESIGNS - Out Of Step In The Mountain State

(06/12/2001)

Views and Comments: Bob Weaver

West Virginia's Library Commissioner David Price has resigned, ending a stay of less than four years. Price was the first recipient of the Hur Herald's Sludge Pot Award in 1999 after he pulled internet access codes from the Calhoun County Library and gave them to a larger public library, probably in Charleston.

Price declined numerous requests from The Herald to answer why he pulled internet access from the rural library, or specifically who got them. Instead, he went on the offensive, implying rural under-funded libraries could be closed unless they developed their own funding streams.

After considerable fussing, a few weeks later the library had their codes returned.

He also threatened to require librarians to have a Master's degree in Library Science, although such individuals were as scarce as hen's teeth. Price, a former San Francisco librarian, made a lot of changes. Librarians around the state felt Price was out of step with its rural nature and culture and many expressed their discontent, even to The Hur Herald.

Many of his foes left the state library board and new members struggled with how to evaluate his performance, which by some standards was very good.

If there be a lesson learned by Mr. Price, the rules of urbane life do not jive well in the hills and hollers of West Virginia, even though they sound good and may eventually be admirable goals.


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