As a professional librarian at the University of Texas, I am perplexed by the portrayal of the university's undergraduate library in the Aug. 23 article "Academic libraries empty stacks for online centers."
Even before the transformation to digital learning center, there were no "Quiet Please" signs; the food policy, revised three years ago, allowed carry-in food items; and professional librarians rarely shelved books because we had student staff dedicated for that task.
Contrary to the impression given in the article, the library is not and was not a "dusty" hall, but rather a dynamic facility, bustling with student activity throughout the semester and run by highly dedicated staff determined to help students not only find what they are looking for, but find the fun in learning. That's because the undergraduate library has long led the University of Texas Libraries in the realm of cutting-edge, student- oriented services and innovative changes in the field of librarianship.
The removal of books to create enhanced digital study space is just one point in the evolution of a facility that has always been at the forefront of undergraduate needs.
It was about time someone noticed the tight relationship between democracy and the politico-religious situation in some Arab or Muslim countries. Your comments on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt ("Bush's antiterrorism formula," Aug. 25 editorial) hit the nail on the head.
As a modern, tolerant, and educated Egyptian, I do not want the Muslim Brotherhood in power in my country. It is easy for you, in America, to speak pearls of wisdom about democracy, but I hope that after 9/11 and all the new laws to "fight terror" that your administration is passing, your perspective has changed somewhat.
Perhaps you can now better understand the dangers for us. Your editorial asks the question, "What if democracy opens the door to Islamist rule?" and that means that you can now see something you did not see some years ago.
Regarding the Aug. 29 article "States tackle gas cost": What about diesel prices? I am an owner-operator of my own trucking company. I love what I do, and I am fighting every day all day long to hang on to my dream. Monday afternoon I filled up my truck with diesel and my pickup with gasoline; it took $599.50 to fill both. The prices for gas and diesel were both $2.499 and then one hour later, they were $2.60 and $2.80 a gallon.
That's 70 percent of my income in my fuel tanks. What are we to do if it reaches $3 to $4 a gallon as some are predicting? What about feeding my family, buying groceries? Why don't owner- operators get a break from someone?
Regarding your Aug. 26 editorial "Finding solace in $3-a-gallon gas": With oil prices surging and showing no signs of coming down significantly, isn't it time to look even more deeply into the positive aspects of the surges? An excellent form of alternative transportation - cheap, nonpolluting, and requiring no nonrenewable energy - already exists. Why focus on substitutes for oil to power our cars, and forget about the bicycle? Bicycles have the further advantages of providing exercise to the user, and increasing opportunities for social interactions, both of which are needed to keep people healthy and happy, and our cities well-functioning.
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