Rockland library asks for public support to keep position

By Larry Di Giovanni | May 27, 2014
Photo by: Larry Di Giovanni The Rockland Public Library, pictured May 25, will lose its full-time reference librarian position if Rockland's $10.5 million general fund budget for 2014-2015 is adopted as is.

Rockland — The Rockland Public Library and its director, Amy Levine, are asking for public support through the library website to keep their full-time reference librarian position intact.

The library's budget is set for City Council discussion during the Wednesday, June 4 budget meeting at Rockland City Hall, and Levine hopes the public will attend.

The city budget proposed by interim City Manager Thomas Luttrell would not fill the reference librarian and assistant to the city manager positions to keep a zero-balanced budget with no property tax increases. The city is facing a non-property tax loss in revenue of $135,280 for the upcoming 2014-2015 budget year, according to Luttrell's budget memo.

In a public message on the library website, Levine writes about the impact of what will reduce the library's full-time staff from seven to five employees.

"The loss of a second [full-time] position in two years will most definitely impact library services to those who use this wonderful community asset," Levine wrote.

Reached for comment Tuesday, Levine said the reference librarian is a "very hands-on position that involves work with library patrons and computers." This past February, the position became vacant when the reference librarian resigned. Part-time employees including one who works just over 25 hours per week have helped, but that extra help is set to expire when the current budget year ends June 30, she said.

During the last budget cycle involving a "city-wide reorganization," a full-time library technician/adult programming position was eliminated, Levine said. That individual handled some reference and circulation work as well as some publicity for the library.

"A healthy library is vital to a healthy community," Levine said, adding that public support can make a difference for the library.

The City Council's budget meetings are held each Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Rockland City Hall.

Courier Publications reporter Larry Di Giovanni can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at ldigiovanni@villagesoup.com.

 

Comments (4)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | May 28, 2014 19:46

The Rockland Library has been for decades and continues to be such a valuable asset for its residents and community, and especially for the children, who need more support and encouragement from our community as the school budget is being cut in critical areas of early learning.  Kendall and Phyllis Merriam



Posted by: Jim Gamage | May 27, 2014 21:25

It really is pretty simple if you just think about it a minute.  We should do EVERYTHING we can do ensure we keep staff and jobs.  These jobs help feed families, pay bills, send kids to school...

Questions:  We can build a bathroom but have to eliminate jobs?  We gave raises the last time to the former City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney shortly after the council voted to cut several full time City jobs.  Will this be the case again?  Do we need to pay for the Police Department to ride around in motorcycles (seasonal and unpractical) or patrol our small harbor in boats (We are Coast Guard City with a Harbor Master and Marine Patrol)?  What is the liability and workers compensation on those two pieces of equipment cost?  Oh, do we need 4 - 6 part time school kids mulching, mowing, weeding and pruning our ball fields, downtown sidewalks and parks?  We do, but we can have all of that done with free labor from the work release program at the Bolduc Correctional Facility.  These measures alone would ensure we keep our employees working to be able to provide for their families. 



Posted by: Susan P Reitman | May 27, 2014 18:20

I am sorry I cannot support the library in the matter.  The City of Rockland needs to have a zero-balanced budget.  I applaud the City of Rockland for making the hard choices to ensure that our taxes are not increased.  RSU-13 needs to do the same and make the hard choices to present a zero-balanced budget but I am not going to hold my breath.  RSU-13 HAS CHAMPAIGN TASTE ON THE HOMEOWNER'S BEER BUDGET.

 



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 27, 2014 16:35

I love our library, but when it comes time to cut staff we see the city manager cutting his assistant first of all. Would we rather cut another fire or police officer? Tough times mean tough choices. Our librarian has done an excellent job. Hope we can get through this without too many hard feelings.



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Larry Di Giovanni
207 594-4401 ext. 117
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Larry Di Giovanni, a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, is returning to his daily reporting roots in order to cover the city of Rockland for The Courier-Gazette. Originally from Athens, Ohio, his family includes one son, Tony.

Di Giovanni has covered news beats ranging from the city of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to the largest tribal government in the United States — the Navajo Nation. He has also worked as a writer in the public education and higher education fields. He's an animal enthusiast and loves dogs.

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