Letters: Wednesday, October 08, 2008
A Beautiful Story

A Beautiful Story
To the editor: I work for Smokes Etc!, where David Noblett worked part time for the last few years. He was a wonderful man, and Jeff Prince’s article was beautifully written (“His Last War,” Oct. 1, 2008). We would like to pay our respects at his funeral. I would be grateful to learn about the services.
Jean Carroll
Fort Worth

To the editor: A truly moving cover story. I am trying to get my breath back. The reporter wrote a great piece. I am impressed most by the fact that Jeff Prince let the people and the events tell the story — a rare thing these days. Most reporters seem to want to show us how much they know or what they think or what we should think. Readers, I am convinced, really don’t like or want reporters to tell them what to think. A thoughtful, incisive, well-rendered piece like Jeff’s holds out an example of what made newspapers great in the first place.
I grew up in Chicago reading Mike Royko and got hooked on him at a very young age. His great reporting and writing drew me in to be a lifelong newspaper reader. Jeff’s piece would definitely pass the Royko test. Maybe some young reader will pick up the Weekly, read Jeff’s piece, and become a regular reader. I hope so. I’m sending it to my niece and a bunch of other people.
To Jeff and all at the Weekly — keep up the outstanding work!
Bob Loftus

To the editor: Regarding David Noblett: When is his funeral and where? What happened to Sparky? I, too, was with the 173d Airborne Brigade and would like to pay my respects.
Butch Benson
Fort Worth

Editor’s note: Please see our Static column, page xxx, for information on services for David Noblett and a fund that’s been created to help defray funeral expenses.
Competing for Hearts and Eyes
To the editor: The concerns about what is happening to our public library (“Overdue at the Library,” Oct. 1, 2008) involve more than what the city is doing to its hours. I’m a Fort Worth native and have been going to the library for almost 20 years. Since I was a student for 17 of those years, it made sense for a cash-strapped young adult to do research using books I could look at for free.
While the Central Library has made substantial strides in appealing to the younger, modern side of the Fort Worth population, there are still many changes that need to be made. The majority of the books I found for research purposes were published before I was born. There are not enough community events or exhibitions held at local libraries to bring me out.
A couple of months ago I even got into an argument with a check-out clerk who insisted that I needed a bill statement as proof of residency to renew my library card. When I pointed out that in this age of online billing, such statements were hard to come by, she still insisted that I had to have one or I could not use the library. Even in the presence of her supervisor, the clerk insisted there were only two options for checking out materials — options that alienate the young and students who are in college away from home. I returned the next day to find out from another clerk on duty that any piece of first-class mail can serve to verify residence. This experience left me with a bad aftertaste for their customer service standards, and I have not been to the library since.
With the popularity of the Barnes & Noble/Starbucks chain conglomerate, the library is at risk of becoming extinct. The thrill of waiting in line overnight for a Harry Potter book, for example, brought a sense of community among readers that could not have come from being wait-listed at the library. Why check out a book for three weeks when you can own your own copy? We have already seen what flashy chains like Starbucks have done to local coffeehouses like Panther City, which cannot compete.
I don’t want the library to disappear, especially for the percentage of the population who cannot afford to buy lattes and bestsellers, but perhaps problems like chain-store competition, hassles over qualifying for library cards, and the aging selection of books available are as much to blame as city budget cuts. The Fort Worth City Council may be taking note that it probably takes a shorter amount of time to get a good mocha than find a darned bank statement to show the librarian.
Cindy Vasquez
Fort Worth
In last week’s guest column, referred to above, the writer said the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had mentioned reduced hours at Fort Worth public libraries only once. In actuality, the daily paper referred to the situation in at least five news stories, including one that offered a list of hours at specific branches. Fort Worth Weekly regrets the error.

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