To the editor of THE EAGLE:
The library department reported that 790 patrons entered the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic in May. This unbelievable number seems almost too good to be true. Yet Holly Hammer, president of the trustees along with the other trustees, agreed to immediately reduce the hours at the Ramsdell and sent the recommendation to Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin. So as a taxpayer, one must ask, "what gives?"
A nice way of putting it is they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Ms. Hammer said the librarians count patrons whenever they go in or out, and attendance would be considerably lower if a door counter was used like the one in the Mason Library. In other words, they count each person twice. So instead of 790, the true count is only 345 for the month of May, and believe me, that is a large amount of patrons for one month.
So where, when and why did this double count begin and what else is going on at the Ramsdell to deceive the taxpayers? It would be helpful to know how many patrons have library cards at the Ramsdell and of that amount how many are from Housatonic?
If it is the librarians at the Ramsdell who decided to do this on their own they should be fired. Or did it come from one or more of the trustees? A bigger question, is did they all know about the double-dipping? Remember, this is the same group that wants to govern itself and not be under our town manager.
One might ask, why the deception? It’s quite simple. They have to justify the Ramsdell’s existence and the only way to do this is by deceiving not only the governing body who runs this town but also the good people of Great Barrington who are asked to support two libraries. This deception is unacceptable. The approximate budget for the Ramsdell is $400,000 per year. If you look at the rest of the state, we are the only community with a population of fewer than 7,000 that carries the burden of two full libraries. Why?
Some who read this will say, what is the big deal? I may be old-fashioned but when a part of a governing body such as the library trustees deceives for its own wants and needs something is very wrong. I call upon the town manager and the Select Board to look into this matter and report back to taxpayers with their findings. To do nothing means that you are part of the problem, not of the solution.
DANIEL J. BARTONI