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Friends of Library invite community to meeting

By Debbie Gardner

PRIME Editor

HAMPDEN The Hampden Friends of the Library invite all Friends members and interested residents to a "love your library' meeting on Oct. 12 to discuss the re-opening the Hampden Town Library.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall auditorium.

"We must respond to this community crisis," said Cynthia Bailey of the Hampden Friends of the Library. "The people of Hampden are the only ones who can return valued services. A library is an essential part of the community, providing learning opportunities for all ages."

Volunteer to help your library

Among the business items slated for the meeting is the election of nominees Cynthia Bailey and Patty Ehlers to the position of co-presidents of the Hampden Friends of the Library. Nominations will also be accepted for the positions of vice-president.

In addition, the Hampden Friends of the Library seek volunteers to chair or assist with the following committees: membership; student representative; member communications; advocacy; publicity; volunteer coordinator; fund-raiser coordinator; grant writer/procurer; newsletter coordinator; community events; children's programs; web site; research; annual meeting and dinner coordinator and book swap assistant.

Residents who are interested in taking on any of these responsibilities who are unable to attend the Oct. 12 meeting should contact Cindy 413 566-8212 or Patty 413 237-7061.

Borrowing privileges in jeopardy

In addition to the information about the upcoming meeting, Hampden Friends of the Library member Cynthia Bailey forwarded to Reminder Publications the following information from John Arnold, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners regarding the consequences of the permanent closure of the Hampden Library:

"In terms of library privileges for Hampden residents if the library should remain closed permanently, my understanding is that no city/town library would be obligated to give borrowing privileges to the residents of Hampden.

"The one exception may be the Boston Public Library operating as the 'Library of Last Recourse.' I can't recall if the statutory wording of the state funds they receive for this would apply to residents of towns without libraries and/or whether that funding is only for research and reference (and not borrowing) privileges," Arnold writes.

"Of course, other towns could choose to give Hampden residents borrowing privileges and/or Hampden could contract with another town to get borrowing privileges in exchange for some payment or other consideration. The important point is that the State Aid requirement for reciprocity is only an obligation among the municipalities that also receive State Aid," he concludes.