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Friday, April 08, 2005

Jack Johnson's Oxon Hill Library fiasco goes on and on and on

with no end in sight and no oversight or call for accountability by either the press or the county council.

For over 30 years, the Oxon Hill Branch Library was used by Oxon Hill and Potomac High School students as a place to study, research term papers and science fair projects, and meet with tutors.

The library's Sojourner Truth Collection, one of the most significant resources in the region for the study of African-American literature and history, is in storage in another branch--useless for study and research--a real travesty and bretrayal of the citizens in our majority African-American county,

Both adults and our children have been deprived of this essential educational resource as a renovation project, badly mismanaged by the Prince George's County Office of General Services has dragged on and on and on, for three years now, with no end in sight.

May 2002

Dear Library Customers

March 2002 marked the beginning of a long-awaited renovation of the Oxon Hill Library! The goal of this renovation project is to expand the Sojourner Truth Room, one of the two largest African-American research collections in Maryland, comparable only to the State Library Resource Center in Baltimore. This important project is scheduled to be completed in winter 2003.

The library is now closed to the public and will re-open as soon as we are able to resume service. Throughout the renovation, we will keep you updated on our progress. You may visit the PGCMLS Web site, www.prge.lib.md.us, for periodic updates and also check our Friends of Oxon Hill Library Web site, www.rootsweb.com/~mdfohl. In addition, Current, the library's bi-monthly news and events publication, will include updates.

While we are closed, we encourage you to use other library branches in Prince George's County for your information needs. For your convenience in returning library materials, a book drop will be available at the Oxon Hill Library throughout the renovation.

We regret the inconvenience this work causes, however, at project's end the Oxon Hill Library will boast twice its current public service space, as well as some new features, all to enhance your library experience!

Staff and Friends of the Oxon Hill Branch Library
Evelyn Tchiyuka, Branch Manager

As I reported over four months ago, in a November 28 posting, some of the walls are covered with graffiti. Since then, the graffiti has grown and the county has left it there, despite the fact that Johnson's Gang Awareness Strategy recommends removal of graffiti.

Apparently, at no time during the three year history of this fiasco, has any reporter, editiorialist, or county council member made any serious effort to investigate why the county is incapable of completing this project.

There have been press reports, and occasional statements from council member that repeat the simplistic excuses from the library system and central services staff, but no investigation, no sense of outrage, and no demands that Johnson and his minions show some real results or be fired and replaced with someone who can find a way the job done and reopen the library.

How long must the people of Prince George's County, especially the southern part of the county, put up with this continuing failure of our county government?

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