TO THE EDITOR:
Under the tri-county Regional Library System, Carteret County Public Library Board of Trustees (the trustees) had the responsibility to determine policy for and to prepare the library budget.
When the county withdrew from the region, the bylaws were rewritten, eliminating the trustees’ responsibility to determine policy and oversee the budget. Those powers are now assigned solely to the Library Director.
In order for this conversion to a county-managed service to be successful, the new director needs guidance, as there are currently major concerns among both the taxpayers of the county and our Friends group members.
Large numbers of books have been thrown away, the staff is depleted and transferred, branch identity and relationships have been eliminated, the budget has significantly increased, and patrons are upset. The county manager and assistant manager are both recently on record as stating they have no experience in library operations.
This is precisely why every management system requires checks and balances. A strong Board of Trustees, with various personal experiences and points of view, is the best sort of leadership.
The Friends of the Library groups have donated many thousands of hours and many thousands of dollars to the library system, and are the very strongest advocates for our libraries. A number of Friends members are former librarians and have a great deal of experience with library operations.
We are requesting that the Carteret County Commissioners:
1. Restore the responsibility for Policy and Budget to the Trustees, as in the previous Bylaws.
2. In recognition of the Friends' contributions and experience, add two seats (for a total of 9) to the Trustees, to be chosen by the Friends groups.
3. Include a member of each Friends group in any strategic planning process.
The Public Library System is a critical County resource and we are asking for your support.
PAUL AUSTIN, President, Friends of the Down East Library
DENA GOODING, President, Friends of the Beaufort Library
ONA SCRUGGS, President, Friends of the Newport Library
BARBARA McCREARY, President, Friends of the Bogue Banks Library