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.”
After receiving a $400,000 windfall from a former Everett resident who bequeathed the money to the Parlin Library, the question remains, who will spend it and how will it be doled out?
The mayor taking credit for the donation is fake news, as the donation was known to be coming by most of the former library officials and its trustees for more than a year – long before the mayor removed the chief librarian and made appointments of family members and a Wellness Center employee accused of sexual harassment to the Board of Trustees in order to snuff out the library’s independence and to bring it under mayoral rule.
The library is not run by a certified librarian.
It is run by Assistant City Solicitor Matt Lattanzi. “I’ve never been inside a library,” the mayor has been famously quoted as saying.
He has about as much interest in the public library system here as he does in women’s rights, claim those who know him well.
Under the mayor’s rule, Trustees now receive a stipend.
Trustees refused to do so in the past.
Two Trustees are the mayor’s family or related to his family.
Another Trustee, an employee of the city at the Wellness Center, has recently resigned.
Questions have arisen about the legality of the mayor appointing family members and city employees to serve as Trustees, that it might tend to create a conflict of interest.
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) is pleased to welcome Stacy DeBole of Swampscott, who has been appointed by Governor Charles D. Baker to serve on the nine-member board.
“I am excited to serve as a Commissioner to continue my work with libraries statewide” said Mrs. DeBole. “Having worked directly with the board as a public library director, I know the challenges facing libraries and the great work that is done by the MBLC and I am excited to get started.”
Commissioner DeBole has had an extensive library career that spans public, academic and special libraries, including the Suffolk University Library, the New England School of Law Library, and the Salem State University Library. Most recently she was director of the Everett Public Library where she actively participated in grant opportunities offered by the MBLC, including Library Services and Technology Act grants for Teens and Tweens and Preservation, and State Aid to Public Libraries grants. She called these grants “game changers for the community.”