Dalkeith li­brary clos­ing

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY AN­GELA BROWN News Staff

North Glen­garry Deputy Mayor Jamie MacDonald and other li­brary sup­port­ers are up­set after SD&G County Li­brary Board’s “cow­ardly” de­ci­sion to close Dalkeith, St. An­drews West and More­wood branches,

After a 3-3 tie vote at a Fri­day meet­ing, chair Bill McGimpsey broke the dead­lock, seal­ing the fate of the branches.

Mr. MacDonald, who is County War­den, Frank Prevost, South Glen­garry Deputy Mayor, and board vice-chair Barb Le­htiniemi (from Glen Robert­son) all op­posed the mo­tion.

“Frank (Prevost) and I were adamant the vote shouldn’t take place,” said Mr. MacDonald. He felt blind­sided when after the board re­jected a re­duc­tion in Dalkeith branch hours, the mo­tion to close the

branches was sub­mit­ted.

Mayor Chris McDonell, a “staunch sup­porter” of the Dalkeith li­brary was busy vol­un­teer­ing at the High­land Games Fri­day.

Mr. Prevost and Mrs. Le­htiniemi agreed the board wasn’t trans­par­ent in con­duct­ing the vote with­out en­gag­ing the pub­lic and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in­volved first.

Mrs. Le­htiniemi re­signed as vice-chair at the end of the meet­ing, adding there should have been some dis­cus­sion after the fi­nal vote, when, in­stead, the meet­ing was hastily ad­journed.

Mr. McGimpsey pointed out the aim of the clo­sures was not to save money but to use the money in the bud­get ef­fi­ciently, as di­rected by SDG County Coun­cil.

Low num­bers

“I am hop­ing peo­ple will un­der­stand and start to use the next clos­est li­brary to them,” he said. Use of the Dalkeith li­brary had dropped by 21 per cent in June com­pared to the same time last year. He added it can cost the li­brary as much as $1,000 per per­son an­nu­ally for each user of a small branch li­brary. The cost to run a small li­brary 15 hours per week is about $55,000 per year. Salaries alone for the three branches amount to about $60,000 each year, con­firmed Karen Franklin, di­rec­tor of SDG Li­brary Ser­vices.

“When you take some of that money and put it into a large branch you can also of­fer bet­ter books, se­lec­tion and pro­gram­ming in hours and im­pact more peo­ple,” Mr. McGimpsey said. He added peo­ple in the Dalkeith area can ac­cess the nearby, larger Alexan­dria li­brary.

A 2012 con­sul­ta­tion re­port showed SDG Li­brary is “spend­ing too much money for too lit­tle re­sults” in cer­tain smaller branches, so the sav­ings from clos­ing these branches will go back into “more in­ven­tory and money for more on-line books and hours of oper­a­tion” in other branches. Mr. McGimpsey added the SDG Li­brary is “lan­guish­ing un­der its own weight” by main­tain­ing branches that aren’t be­ing ad­e­quately used. The li­brary board pre­vi­ously re­ceived six dif­fer­ent op­tions from SDG County Li­brary to close and/or re­duce hours at some smaller branches that have low usage.

Ms. Franklin re­lated the three branches clos­ing are “not re­ceiv­ing any visi­tors on sev­eral days of the week,” adding: “Satur­day at St. An­drews is a pretty bleak

day to be open be­cause no­body comes. It’s been like that for a long time.”

Friends “dev­as­tated” by de­ci­sion

Friends of the Dalkeith Li­brary pres­i­dent Phyl­lis Noble said she is “dev­as­tated.”

The Friends be­lieved if the li­brary gained more mem­bers, it would be sal­vaged.

In April, the Friends and the Save Our SDG Li­brary Branches sup­port­ers helped con­vince the board to re­scind its ear­lier de­ci­sion to re­duce hours at the Dalkeith, St. An­drews West and More­wood branches.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.