Sept. 1, 2020
TO THE EDITOR:
During my career as a manager in industry I learned that change is a necessary constant. However, I also learned that you need to take the time to understand your organization, employees, and customers before you make those changes. I'm afraid our library is being changed without that insight.
For example, the "new library" is moving to on-line and virtual services and Facebook, neglecting the fact than many older patrons are not fluent in technology, nor does Down East have adequate internet service.
I'd like to correct and expand upon Mike Shutak's recent article, "Public Library Changes Draw Concern...."
Regarding the Library lease:
After I read a statement in the News Times that the lease for the Down East Library was in question, I called Mr. Chadwick. He informed me that the lease was pre-existing and had been approved by the Attorney General. A couple of days later, the Library Director stated the lease would be invalid if Mr. Chadwick was re-elected in November. I hope this misunderstanding will soon be re-solved.
Regarding the books:
We gave well over 2500 culled books to various groups and organizations. All were in excellent condition, exactly as you'd find on the library shelf. In spite of repeated published statements, we found none with mildew, and dis-posed of only a few children's books with damaged covers and a number of books that had the back cover ripped off by a thoughtless librarian (less than 30 total).
Ms. Mason refused to give books to one Friends group unless they signed a restrictive Memorandum of Under-standing. This was never necessary under the regional system and it appears she would rather throw books away than give them back to the citizens who paid for them.
Based on my experience, I challenge Ms Mason's statement, "We are using Better World Books for most of our discards". I'm sure Ms. Mason could show us receipts for those quantities to clarify the issue.
A very conservative calculation shows that $30,000 worth of books were culled from the Down East Library alone, and there are four more libraries, all larger. How will the books be selected, in what time frame, where will the money come from, and is this saving money?
Regarding the employees:
I would note that Ms Mason is correct, no staff changes were made after July 1; all that happened before then. Citizens would be stunned to learn of the high percentage of our long-term librarians who chose to quit rather than continue to work in the new system. Mr. Shutak might take a look at this.
In closing, this transition from the region to the county was done with questionable motives and non-existent financial justification. The county commissioners and the public have had the wool pulled over their eyes. And the subsequent transition is chaos.
It's time that this train wreck goes beyond the Letters to the Editor section. It is the commissioners' duty to learn exactly how this happened, who was responsible, and to correct it for the future.