Many seem not to care about poor state of city libraries
BY JOSH RESNEK
Mayor Carlo DeMaria is continuing his plan eviscerating the Everett Public Libraries by laying off all of its part-time employees.
Such a move at a time when the libraries could be used to disseminate information and to continue programs during the time of Coronavirus is a step in the wrong direction, according to those familiar with the workings of public libraries.
But why should we be surprised? The mayor who once proudly boasted that he went through four years at Northeastern University without ever setting foot in the “library” has embarked on a plan to make the Everett Public Libraries irrelevant, just like – in his opinion – the people that the libraries serve.
The libraries have been closed since March 15. The online possibilities have neither been explored nor implemented by the mayor and his management staff during the virus crisis.
The first step in the mayor’s Machiavellian plan was to reorganize the governance structure of the libraries and take control away from an appointed Board of Trustees (in most cases, people who actually use libraries and know what they are for) and place it under his direct control.
This being accomplished, the newly named and reorganized Board of Trustees no longer has any responsibility for the management of the libraries and their role has been relegated to deciding how to spend the interest generated by the Parlin Trust. And, of course, the members of the Libraries’ Board of Trustees, still continue to collect the $2,000 per year stipend for serving on the Board.
In addition, a number of local library advocates believe that the mayor’s appointments to the library trustees of family members, who are collecting their annual stipend for doing, essentially, nothing constitutes a conflict of interest or violation of the prohibition on nepotism here.
Library buildings throughout the state are closed, but library services are still running – but not at Everett’s two public libraries.
The Parlin and Shute libraries have been rendered useless and shut down entirely because of the Coronavirus crisis.
The failure to hire a certified librarian to head the institutions is also believed to be part of the problem with a lack of direction from the library’s present leadership contributing to the problem as well.
In many other communities throughout the state, public libraries are being used in a variety of creative ways with community programming to ensure that residents can still participate in educational and entertaining programs while the stay-at-home order and social distancing are in place.
According to the Massachusetts Library Association, more than 300 libraries across the state are turning to virtual library services to their patrons.
For instance, a recent MBLC Blog posted, “Don’t get bored: Seven things for North Andoverites to try online via Stevens Memorial Library.”
One of the mayor’s lawyers is now running the Parlin Library. Assistant City Solicitor Matt Lattanzi recently held a public meeting noting all the legal changes he has made so the library will fall under the laws of the land perfectly.
The mayor has a mania for the library to run his way or no way. The mayor’s bottom line is to run the library as another city department rather than having a chief librarian who knows what he or she is doing to meet the protocol for running a public library in a city like ours.
Attorney Lattanzi is perfect as the mayor’s messenger. Running the library as another city department allows the may- or to hire more employees, or in the case of the library, another convicted felon to carry on library business here.
The Mayor, who has been quoted as saying he never saw a library he wanted to enter during four years at college, has come to take a commanding interest in the management, or mismanagement, of the city’s library system.
The system is utterly demoralized by the administrative changes ordered by the mayor that have been made in recent months, according to sources.
The facts of the matter have come to light about why Parlin Library officials stopped sending old city photographs and descriptions to the Leader Herald after we had been publishing the popular series for longer than a year.
In this dispute alone the seeds of the changes the library has undergone were planted.
It was the mayor’s doing entirely, the remaking of how the library system is run and the placement of a city lawyer without library experience or library training to run the system, according to sources who spoke with the Leader Herald.