Friday, January 6, 2017

No Signatures For You?

Jones Library:  An iconic presence in the heart of downtown

The Jones Library Trustees met yesterday and spent about 25 minutes discussing whether the library could or should be used as a favorite fishing spot to bag signatures for town wide office -- especially that of Jones Library Trustee.

Although clearly a public space and therefor fair game, Trustee President Austin Sarat made a distinction between "norms vs. rights".

Most agreed that a sitting Trustee asking an employee they technically have power over for a signature on their nomination papers is a tad intrusive because the employee might feel "pressured" to sign.

Director Sharon Sharry pointed out the "gauntlet" that sets up in front of the Middle School Auditorium on the first few nights of Town Meeting with candidates in search of signatures, and she would prefer that not happen at the Jones Library two front entries.

Rookie Trustee Alex Lefebvre, appointed by a joint meeting of the Select Board and Trustees last month, said she doesn't like being approached by strangers when shopping at Stop & Shop to sign petitions or nomination papers.

The Trustees took no formal action but will send it to a sub committee for further study.  In the audience was Terry Johnson a candidate for Library Trustee on the upcoming March 28 election who also applied for the temporary seat won by Alex Lefebvre who voiced strong support for the library expansion during the interview before Select Board and Library Trustees.

Ms. Johnson was not overly supportive of the expansion during the interview.

As such Ms. Lefebvre was appointed by the Trustees to their Building and Facilities Sub Committee and the Joint Capital Planning Committee.

Director Sharon Sharry also updated Trustees on the progress of the e-x-p-a-n-s-i-o-n telling them the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners had come back with required changes in the preliminary plans and all of them had been implemented.

The final Construction Grant Application is due January 26th and they hear back whether it will be funded on July 13th.

At the Spring Town Meeting starting in late April the Library will request permission to apply for and receive grant funds (if approved by the state) and at the Fall Town Meeting will request the amount of town money needed to go along with the state money and private fundraising efforts.

Current estimates for the Jones Library expansion/renovation is in the $32 million range with the state paying $15 million, private donations of $5 million, and a taxpayer Debt Exclusion Override of $12 million.

The Jones Library endowment now stands at $7.63 million and President Sarat brought up the idea of perhaps using more than the 4% draw to support the operation budget this coming fiscal year.


Anonymous said...

Mountain meet molehill. What a tiny issue.

Anonymous said...

It would be cool to have info on the use of the library and town libraries in general now vs. say 10 or 20 years ago and to review this along with other priority needs for funding in town.

I have family that are librarians. According to them, most library use is down, effectiveness is way down, though for a while there was increased use due to pulling dvd's and such (offering what other business in the community sell, for free - bad government). Now that so many references are available to anyone on the internet and families are so much wealthier, they just buy the books or ebooks. The kids still have the schools and their libraries. Most of basic math and grammer has not changed, the old books are still around.

I just hope they keep those E-devices, shown to be harmful to those 10-15, out of that place or limit its use by kids(Brit study that one hour of produces a 14% reduction in happiness in this age group, out of the average of 8 hours a day parents let kids in this age group use the devices). This may be part of why millenials seems so useless. We need to end the myth that kids need to be exposed to these devices early and spread the word about the federal congressional hearings where every expert said that these devices need to be kept away from the brains of those under 18. I cannot figure out why most parents ignore the only expert advice known to be out there on this subject. I feel so bad for their kids.

Perhaps, for the good of the kids and ignorant parents, those under 18 should be legally limited to 1 hour a day or less behind a computer. The town can pass such a law and then enforce it. It could even put internet meters on houses like electric or water meters to limit it if they have kids. It is far less invasive than a rental bylaw. Then if the library was focused again on books and even more so on the limited portion of the population that needed them.....the budget would not need to be as large, likely no expansion needed. The town can focus limited funds on projects for the needy, the real reason we started government, even if now it is a tool to facilitate wealthy special interests.

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding. Have you even been to the Jones? Every computer is taken. The children's room is packed. This is not a place that is underutilized.

Anonymous said...

There are so many dumb things in anon 11:07's comment that I can't be bothered to unpack them all!

Anonymous said...

" It is far less invasive than a rental bylaw. " Possible sarcasm, but 11:17 is just the same old slumlord that's always harping on here about how the rental bylaw creates egregious burdens like fire codes, health and safety for students.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps an hourly fee for users and free passes for the needy....then the cost of increasing this great resource falls primarily to the users and the poor are not disenfranchised.

Then increases in budget can occur without public debate or expense and if costs outweight benefit, you will see this in decreased fees and expenses can br adjusted accordingly.

Also time and effort involved in public debate can be reallocated back to an effective purpose.

This could satisfy all parties.

Anonymous said...

Has anon 1:59 ever heard of the public good?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:59...still this a goof?

Anonymous said...

wouldn't it be a public good if the town took over a grocery store, even more of a public good than a library. I get the public good thing, but that does not justify any amount of tax spending, right? If it is for the kids, we did already provide them the most expensive of educational resources via the schools.

I think it is important to remember how many families struggle and that the best good for their family is to keep some more of their income vs. a forced library donation.

Anonymous said...

Bwa ha ha this could get good; start at "grammer"

Anonymous said...

Forced donation? ...Don't go!

Anonymous said...

Advocating a pay as you go public library is Trump bullshit! But I realize you wouldn't understand....

Anonymous said...

That photo of the library trustees says it all about Amherst, its committee's and town meeting.
Nothing in this town is representative …avg age, about 70, white male or female, take your pick !!

Anonymous said...

8 Years ago America send the government a mandate, we all talked about it and accepted it, we elected Obama and that meant we wanted the ACA.

1 Month ago America sent the government another mandate, and according the the Democrat Election Mandate System, the mandate was to get rid of the ACA, more generally let American decide how to spend more of their own money and most of all....

Trump Bullshit is what we voted for as a possible solution to Obama failure. It is the new American Mandate after 8 years of the worst economy we have seen since WWII, the loss of part of our economy via the ACA and the continuation of some of the most violent of Bush policies. Obama dropped 3 bombs per hour for every hour of 2016....let's talk about bullshit....every hour.

But let's be real...what to the wealthy in town expect the poor to do with all the voted in taxes and expenses that provide them a public good, but one where they would have rather used the funds to purchase a personal necessity. You don't provide them an out except to move, they have to fund what you vote for as the majority and they have to suffer as a result, regardless of a rich parents intentions to have more town resources for very little personal expense. The poor are a subjugated minority, more than blacks, lesbians or people that want to be called by new pronouns, all of which are focused on and revered locally.

How about a "poor lives matter" banner in town, just a couple times a decade?

Anonymous said...

News reporting without gratuitous snark from the blogmaster! I like it.

Rich Morse

Mommy, Grammy, do you feel anything? said...

"That photo of the library trustees says it all about Amherst, its committee's and town meeting. Nothing in this town is representative …avg age, about 70, white male or female, take your pick !!"

If Subaru made a walker in far out forest green?


Goddess bless,

-Squeaky Squeaks


Annnnnnnnnnnnd ~flush~.

Anonymous said...

This is not the worst economy since WW2. The ACA funded mostly private insurance and the expansion of medicaid was paid to hospitals and doctors and therefore the money did not disappear but went into the economy. Healthcare is both a public good and a private necessity! The economy was destroyed by Republicans and out of wack tax cuts will do it again. Allowing the poor to have tax deductible health savings accounts is a ridiculous sham. Your libertarian economics is a cover for personal greed. Donald Trump is a lying piece of garbage that will only foster chaos and continued crony capitalism. There is no draining of the swamp when his cabinet is full of politicians,lobbyists,Goldman sucks graduates and billionaires! Oh and white supremacists...don't forget the all-night. The poor are the last thing on your mind anon 10:46. Dismantling public education will really help the poor. Your kind have a bug up your asses about Obama because he is black! Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be good to have a library Trustees who has different views on the expansion. It can only improve the analysis and debate among the Trustees.

kevin said...

Town Meeting killed the Kinsey Garden, let's see what else can they kill.