The View from the Gallery

The Fitchburg public library is going through one of the toughest budget crisises in recent memory.  The city is suffering a nearly $5 million defecit this year, and the Mayor is unconvinced that the library is a core service for the city.  Thus this year’s budget negotiations may result in as much as a %75 cut to the library, and I’ve heared reports they will have to reduce their staff and their hours by as much as 2/3rds and may not be able to purchase any new materials for the next year.

And then there is the issue of state certification, which in Massachusetts requires (for a city the size of Fitchburg) certain budgetary standards and a director with an M.L.S.  Meeting these requirements opens up grant opportunities and allows you membership in the statewide library systems.  Fitchburg is not going to make the cut this year, becoming the largest community in the state unable to do so, and to judge from some members of the community they don’t mind.

I really want to be appalled by this, but I can’t say I’m terribly surprised, and judging by the post I just linked to I don’t think there are many pro library advocates in the city.  I’m also curious how much of the thinking revolves around the fact that the neighboring city of Leominster just opened up a brand new library.  I really want to see the shock in Fitchburg when patrons try to go over there to check out books and get turned away because of their uncertified status.  I’ll be keeping an eye on this whole situation.

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