We would like to clear up some misunderstandings about the Medway Public Library and regionalization.
Massachusetts libraries ARE regionalized.
Residents of cities and towns with certified libraries -- and Medway is one -- can borrow books, magazines, audiotapes, CDs, videos and DVDs from over 300 public libraries and 38 academic libraries. Medway has been a member of the Minuteman automated resource network since 1990; that's 21 years of sharing materials between Medway and other Massachusetts libraries.
You can borrow items while you are physically in another library. You can also request the items from your home computer or smart phone, or at your local library, and can pick them up a few days later at any library you specify. You can return materials at any library, and the items will be transported back to where they belong using the statewide library delivery network.
Every year the state pays for reference services and electronic databases shared by all public libraries.
Massachusetts libraries pool their buying power in statewide materials and supplies purchasing cooperatives.
Since 1980, automated library resource sharing networks have centralized technology and support for multiple libraries catalogs, providing significant costs savings through operating efficiencies.
A state Regionalization Advisory Commission was created in 2009 to study all aspects of regionalization. Their comprehensive April 30, 2010 report acknowledged the success of Massachusetts libraries: "We see these programs as models of regional and statewide cooperation and resource sharing that should be considered in discussions of regionalization of local services."
In the current agreement with Franklin, we are paying Franklin's Library Director at a rate that is 42% higher than our Director rate, and we are paying Franklin for Library repairs and maintenances.
When the concept of sharing library services with Franklin was first brought to the Trustees in February 2009, we were told that grants would be available to support these efforts. These grants haven't materialized. Instead, nearly $47,000 of Medway taxpayer money was spent on this experiment in FY10, and another $60,000 has been budgeted for FY11.
This is not the most cost-effective way to spend Medway's money.
Paying a Director at Medway's rate is the fiscally responsible decision. Repairs and maintenance work is less expensive and more easily managed through Medway's DPS rather than contracted out to Franklin.
As your elected Library Trustees, we understand the issues and our responsibility to the Medway residents we serve. We will continue investigating new ways to improve service while minimizing costs, and as always we will adopt those that prove workable and effective. We will continue to give Medway the best possible Library service we can with the money available, using taxpayer dollars responsibly and as cost-effectively as is possible.
Medway Board of Library Trustees
Wendy Rowe, Chair