News and Tribune


May 5, 2010


>>SOUTHERN INDIANA — Library director writes about meeting rules

I would like to respond to the April 9 letter from Walter Manka concerning the use of the library meeting room by the Clark County Tea Party Patriots group. Use of the meeting room does not imply that any program, ideas expressed, meeting issue or the group are sanctioned by the Library.

This group was given permission to use the meeting room because our policy states that any local civic or service club, local business, government agency and any educational, cultural, literary or other not-for-profit association may reserve a meeting room.

We consider the Clark County Tea Party Patriots a not-for-profit association and are, therefore, eligible to reserve a meeting room.

The American Library Association Library Bill of Rights states that facilities should be made available to the public served by the given library “on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”

Lastly, the Indiana State Library issued the following statement in regards to meeting room use: “Based on United States Supreme Court cases, Indiana Supreme Court cases, and 7th Circuit federal cases, the following appears to apply with regard to library meeting rooms ... A number of U.S. Courts have found libraries in violation of the Constitution because their room use policies prohibited religious or political meetings.”

I hope this letter addresses the concerns of Mr. Manka, and we hope that he will continue to use the Jeffersonville Township Public Library.

— Libby Pollard, director, Jeffersonville Township Public Library

One reader’s pursuit of the happy answer

As a child, I can remember hearing the phrase, “... life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Now, I’ve had years to ponder these words. Life and liberty are fairly self-explanatory. Yet, what is this pursuit of happiness?

What should have been easily explained by my impressers, was surely to be a lesson of life. Many ears were bent to my endless obsessions with such questions, supposedly not pertaining to the mind of a child. No satisfactory answers were ever given in this regard. Such a simple matter of words, why wasn’t there an answer?

Later, I would find out that most adults and teachers just didn’t know the answer. When they would try to answer, it would be vague and similar to an explanation of pure happiness. The answer, although not quite fulfilling, was an underlying fact on the matter.

In my wanton hobby of reading any book set to my hand, I came across the “Second Treatise,” written by John Locke. In his writings, Locke theorizes the basis of natural rights and social order in the dealings of politics. He showed reasoning for the formation and founding of states to commit to social order.

With the inherent natural rights, the political notion of such state is founded. He had shown property to be the interest and aspiration, thus material goods being acquired through labor. Through this we have derived the precedence of property over government. Therefore, government cannot unreasonably attach or dispose of citizens’ property.

This pursuit can be linked to many aspects of early American values. In 1776, George Mason wrote in his articles of the Virginia Declaration of Rights:

“That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

Just one man’s opinion — yet I believe that the answer has been found. Or, has it found me?

A question that could have been answered quite simply turned out to be a quest. I use this experience as a reminder when my children ask me questions. The question may seem quite unimportant, yet it needs an answer. That simple answer may be the answer to the future. Take the time and talk to those inquiring minds.

In closing, I would like to leave these words to ponder: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” — U.S. Declaration of Independence, Second Continental Congress, July 4 ,1776.

— Darrell Dillard, Clarksville

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