2009-02-26 / Letters

Library Will Reduce Hours

Library Will Reduce Hours

As elected officers of the town of Randolph, we, the Trustees of Kimball Library, have a duty to make sure that the library continues to serve the community in the best possible manner—providing services that extend beyond simple access to books and periodicals, preserving our historic town-owned building, and keeping and supporting our widely well-regarded and respected staff.

Our programs not only serve to promote literacy in all ages from pre-school through all levels of childhood, adulthood and the senior population, but benefit the community in less traditional ways—all free to Randolph citizens—such as Internet access, help with online job applications, income tax preparation and access to tax forms, and by providing meeting space for a variety of groups, just to name a few.

We would not be able to maintain these programs without the help of our own fundraising efforts—which bring in over $20,000 annually—or without the approximately 1,000 hours of donated volunteer hours. These two sources of self-funding make Kimball Library unique among all Randolph town departments.

Not unlike other town departments, however, we have faced new challenges in these past few months as we tried to arrive at a fiscal year 2009-2010 budget that would balance our commitment to the community against the need to keep our tax burden on the town to a minimum.

This year’s prolonged budget process was at times fraught with frustration, misquotes and misunderstanding, and the desire to level-fund our budget was particularly challenging due to rising costs of items beyond our control, such as fuel oil as well as medical and building insurance.

The final approved budget to be presented to the voters on Town Meeting Day reflects a reduction to the level of funding we believe we will need to sustain our current level of service. Mindful of our limitations, we have decided to reduce our hours in the coming fiscal year: effective July 1, 2009, we will no longer be open on Thursday mornings, returning to the previous Thursday hours of 2 until 8 p.m.

In addition, due to the increasing cost of books, we will not be able to keep up with our past level of book acquisition without a concomitant increase in that line item in our budget.

We can only hope that next year’s financial situation improves for all, but we are committed to working cordially and openly with the budget committee and selectboard, no matter the circumstances. It was with pride that we heard Town Manager Gary Champy state at the January 26 selectboard meeting that the library trustees have a history of managing the Kimball Library budget diligently; our intention is to continue our service to all with that same diligence.

In the meantime, if you are among those in our community who do not frequent the library and perhaps consider it to be merely a collection of books and a harbor for the literary elite, we encourage you to visit.

Whether you are a frequent visitor or not, please consider the importance of a free public library when it comes time to vote on Kimball Library’s budget at Town Meeting Day in Randolph and on the $6,500 appropriation at the Braintree Town Meeting.

Kimball Library Trustees

Tom Cooch

Jenny Davis

Gay Gaston

Chris Lesinski

Betty Phillips

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