Disclaimer: I am the Technical Services Librarian at the Winthrop Public Library and union shop steward.
The Winthrop(Mass) Public Library is facing a serious financial crisis since the Town of Winthrop received a $511,000 state aid cut a few weeks ago. The Town Council was going to close the Library, but after a massive media and email campaign, the Council voted on Monday, February 9, 2008 to give a the Library a 30-day reprieve and $15,000 to raise funds. However, the Interim Town Manager laid off the newly hired director, Alan Thibeault, former Boston Herald news librarian on Friday, February 13, 2009. There were other layoff notices, including mine, but those notices were rescinded. The Trustee chairman, Jim Matarrazo, is suppose to run things in the meantime.
Since I got back from Internet Librarian 2008 Conference in late October 2008, I have been dealing with possible budget cuts and layoffs. The library budget was cut $30,000 in late November instead of $75,000 with no layoffs. The Town is facing a larger state aid cut in FY2010 and will need a Proposition 2 and a half override to fund the town budget.
Here’s the link to the February 12 Winthrop Transcript story:
Betsy Johnson of the Ipswich Library wrote a very good column in the Feb 16 Ipswich Chornicle called “Library is the best bargain in town”:
Ipswich – It seems that just about everybody is taking advantage of the recession to sell something. Restaurants are handing out $20 coupons to entice diners, bookstores are advertising tomes about pinching pennies, retailers are pitching “recession sales” for everything from plants to furniture.
Heck, I’m no different. I was going to use the recession in this column to sell the library. Not to the highest bidder, obviously, but to the book-borrowing public. And then I realized I didn’t have to.
Circulation is up significantly at libraries across the nation, including the Ipswich Public Library. Why go to the bookstore when there are thousands of books available to borrow for free?
Patrons thank us every day, for having DVDs and videos to check out free of charge, for having computer terminals available so they can check their e-mail or search for a job, for stocking books on resume writing when they need to plow through that ugly chore, and for having their literature of choice available when they need to put their feet up, relax and enjoy themselves in someone else’s world.
Patrons thank us for having a piano available on which to practice when their child is taking lessons but they don’t yet own a piano themselves. They thank us for being open on Sunday afternoons when it is the only time they can make it here. They thank us for having SAT prep books so they can bone up for the tests for free, avoiding the cost of an SAT prep class.
Here’s the link to the whole column:
Tuesday is going to be very interesting day. More info when I have it.
Posted by Rich