Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Describing the Television Experience

Here's how I described yesterday's TV experience in an email to the Library staff:
Dear Colleagues,
Last Friday at the end of a meeting in Shrewsbury of the Mass. Library Association Legislative Committee, Chairperson Krista McCloud put me in touch with Michael McAlpin of WGBH-TV, Channel 2, Public Television in Boston. He was seeking "a library in trouble" in the context of Question 1 - elimination of the State Income Tax.
A film crew came to Brockton yesterday to film a segment to be aired tonight on their "Greater Boston" show at 7:00 PM on Channel 2. (Repeated at midnight on Channel 44.)
The focus of the show is Brockton Public Library as "the canary in the cage" in the shadow of Question #1, well as the local Proposition 2 1/2 Override question for library funding. Producer Michael McAlpin interviewed Library staff members, Chief Financial Officer John Condon, library patrons and a Question 1 supporter who was leafletting on Main Street.
They came earlier than expected, in time to film me in grubby clothes, with two custodians, offloading from a truck four huge display cases donated by the Fuller Craft Museum. I begged for time to go home and put on a sport coat, slacks, and one of my "library ties" before they interviewed me inside the library. They insisted that I be in the same outfit for both shots, and thought it made the case for "the struggling library director" to show me that way.

CFO Condon gave chilling answers to McAlpin's questions about the impact of Question 1. He said, "Harry won't be worrying about reopening Branches - he'll be shutting down the entire system." His estimate was that the Brockton School Department would lose six percent (6%) of its budget, and the rest of the City, including Police, Fire, Library, DPW etc would lose sixty-five percent (65%) without the funding from the State Income Tax.
I'm almost afraid to watch.
Some of you will be working at the library at the time of the show, and I can't in good conscience recommend staying up til midnight to see it on Channel 44. But some of you might be on TV!

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