Wilbraham Public Library could face decertificationK

March 23, 2017 | Kristin Regula

WILBRAHAM—The Wilbraham Public Library is in danger of not having enough funds to remain a certified library.

While de-certification may not affect library services, it can become a problem in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Not only would residents of Wilbraham be unable to borrow books through the Inter-Library Lending System, but direct lending via all other libraries in the Commonwealth would also be inaccessible for Wilbraham residents if the Wilbraham Public Library became de-certified.    

If de-certified, the Wilbraham Public Library also would not receive state aid money.

For Fiscal Year 2018, the Wilbraham Public Library needs to come up with $701,281 in order to remain a certified library. For Fiscal Year 2017 the library only needed to have $669,481.

There was also the help of a waiver from the state that aided in offsetting the cost for FY17, but the Wilbraham library barely made the qualifications to receive it that year.

“Last year we were given a waiver with reservation, and that was the discretion of the board of Library Commissioners,” Library Director Karen Demers told Reminder Publications. “We were seen as disproportionally cut compared to other town departments. We were down by 5.8 percent.”

Due to the waiver for FY17 being given with reservation, Demers predicted that “it is likely the last waiver we’ll get.”

According to Demers, another part of the law concerning libraries in Massachusetts is that they must be open a certain number of hours per week.

“We actually exceed the minimum number of hours for population,” said Demers. “Minimum for the town of Wilbraham is 40 hours a week, we’re open 54.”

According to Demers, while she has spoken to the Wilbraham Board of Selectmen, the Board is waiting to hear from the schools and other departments in town before making a decision on whether or not to give the library financial help.

The Wilbraham Public Library has had waivers since Fiscal Year 2010. However, these waivers are the only funding the library is allowed to get for operation costs.

If the Wilbraham Library becomes de-certified, it would happen on Feb. 20, 2018. According to Demers, it is up to each individual community to decide whether or not to loan books to residents who live in a community with a de-certified library.

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