Letter to our Legislators: Nothing Will Be Improved to Dismantle Western Massachusetts Regional Library System
Rochelle Wildfong, Children’s Librarian at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA writes:
I am writing in response to the news of reconfiguration of library systems in Massachusetts concerning Western Massachusetts where I have been a Children’s Librarian at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg for over 20 years.
We in Western Mass have been witness to the evolution of WMRLS – Western Massachusetts Regional Library System and owe much gratitude for their unfailing service to all the little libraries stretched out, from Palmer to Lenox, from Ware to Leyden. We have been a part of the growth and change to library services in the energetic form of WMRLS, whose dedicated staff have doggedly worked to make themselves and their services available to all the struggling libraries with insufficient means. Many small libraries cannot afford larger collections, indeed, who do not have the room for larger collections and have had the best of all experiences; that being to borrow from the collections aboard the BOOKMOBILE. How better to enhance the literate world of small libraries than to have a rotating lending library. This felt like true democracy, the borrowing of books to communities by a deposit library, relatively close to their doors. The first big blow was the slashing of the BOOKMOBILE deposit collection. Now the BOOKMOBILE has been laid to rest.
Western Mass libraries have depended on WMRLS for their expertise concerning library services, training, support, Interlibrary Loan, and of course the beloved Bookmobile. The people who are the staff of WMRLS are dedicated visionaries who labored hard to create a new building for their organization when the lease was up in Hatfield. The WMRLS Headquarters in Whately is a testament to their commitment to libraries in Western Mass. The dedicated, knowledgeable staff of WMRLS know their Western Mass libraries, towns and people. They know how to serve them, assist them, advocate for them. They have been here for us all this time. When budget cuts have come through they have pared away their collection, their bookmobile, their staff.(?) To take away what they have created in the cohesive form of a well oiled working unit, is akin to the breaking up of a family.
This is a sad state of affairs. We implore you to not “Close the Books” on WMRLS. We want to keep our WMRLS staff, they know us, our libraries and our roads. We want our WMRLS delivery drivers and vans. Nothing will be improved to dismantle WMRLS.