Isn’t there a better way to handle this?
The Hingham Public Library’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to stop lending library materials to Hull residents, effective next Monday.
The decision comes in response to the Hull Public Library’s decertification by the state earlier this month, because Hull had cut the library budget disproportionately to other accounts in the town budget.
Decertification means that Hull will lose all state aid to its library, and Hull library card holders face the prospect of losing the right to borrow from libraries in other towns.
For now, the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy is the only library that has said it will continue to allow Hull residents to borrow materials. Milton, Randolph, and Walpole plan to decide soon whether to continue lending to Hull residents.
According to Hingham’s library director, Dennis Corcoran, Hull residents borrowed 33,468 items from Hingham last year, or nearly one-third of the materials lent to nonresidents.
The Hingham trustees said Wednesday that Hull residents are welcomed to use the Hingham library and attend activities there, but cannot borrow items, either directly or through the interlibrary loan network.
OK. I understand that there need to be consequences for the Hull Powers-That-Be in cutting the library’s financing to the point that it loses certification. Nasty stuff, that, and it is something that communities need to consider when deciding what to slash in their respective budgets.
To some extent I understand that by punishing the residents of Hull, they will descend with pitchforks on the City Hall (metaphorically speaking, of course) and demand that the funding be restored. However, meanwhile, people are losing the ability to borrow items from the library – and one that they have traditionally borrowed from, judging by the circulation numbers.
Couldn’t these two communities have worked out an arrangement? Since so many Hull residents are using the Hingham library anyway, couldn’t Hull have paid Hingham for library services? Merge the two libraries? Something?
It’s situations like these that make the library look like the bad guy. Not what we’re looking to do, is it?