Fayetteville public to lose access to C.A.T. Library? | Street Jazz

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fayetteville public to lose access to C.A.T. Library?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 10:01 AM

One of the great losses to Fayetteville as a result of the Great Access War was the loss of the Fayetteville Open Channel video library, home of of hundreds of video tapes that chronicled the efforts of video artists in Northwest Arkansas. Their work encompassed not only a documentary of the history of our area, but a rich history of the work of artists of all stripes, highlighting the passion and creativity of Fayetteville and the surrounding communities.

When folks learned of the loss of that collection, it was as though they had received a body blow to the system; they simply couldn’t believe that Fayetteville no longer had access to such an amazing treasure.

Now, 18 years later, a similar - especially for those interested in Fayetteville’s past - may well be in store for the video library of Community Access Television.

There are those in the current city administration who believe it is “inconvenient” to have the library housed where it currently resides at 101 W. Rock, where the public has full and open access to it, should they so desire. There plans to box a majority of it up and stick it into a basement.

This will effectively put the library out of reach of anyone who may wish to access the library, be they amateur historians or just those who may want to check out what Northwest Arkansas residents have produced over the years.

Even though the FOC library may be largely lost to the ages, since 1992, public access in Fayetteville has built up an impressive library. After all, for 30 years, public access has has served as the areas’s only true arts and entertainment, religious, and political affairs channel. The efforts to document much of that is in the C.A.T. library.

From Mark McGee’s ground-breaking  efforts capturing musicians from all over the sate to the series from Butterfeld Trail, interviwing well-known Fayetteville residents from the past to a whole host of shows in-between, the idea that these programs may simply be boxed up and forgotten about, no longer available to anyone to even request that they be replayed is abominable to anyone who respects the history of our area.

The C.A.T. Library is a place that anyone seeking a glimpse into our past, and our often turbulent political struggles can research, and learn more about ourselves.

Where have political activists traditionally come to do programs about their efforts? Community Access Television.

The C.A.T. Library contains programs on:

Our battles over property rights

Fayetteville’s valiant attempt to pass. the Human Dignity Resolution in the 1990s

The Kohl’s Tree-sit controversy

gay bashing in Fayetteville

The architectural history of Fayetteville - and a hundred other issue, as well.

Every election year, candidates have made the trek to C.A.T. and appeared on every talk show they could. Almost every political and social leader of note in the last 30 years has made an appearance on public access, and many of these interviews are in the C.A.T. library.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of musicians, have made their way to the C.A.T. studio.

The C.A.T. library, is, in short, living history. It is a treasure trove for those seeking to research our past.

And now, through the passion and enthusiasm of local citizens, bits and pieces of the Fayetteville Open Channel library are coming in. But if the library is to be simply boxed up and shut away, out of reach of the public, why the hell should they even bother?

It would be a bitter  irony if this were to happen during one of the most enlightened administrations this city has seen for along time.

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Quote of the Day

You can always spot a well-informed man — his views are the same as yours. —Ilka Chase, 1930s US actress

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Not sure how this one slipped past the History Channel . . .

Forget the pyramids - did you ever really get a look at Fred Flintstone's house? There's no way he could have built that without the help of alien beings. Call the UFO Hunters!


rsdrake@cox.net

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