Berlin library calls on town residents to help prevent further budget cuts

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BERLIN — The Berlin-Peck Memorial Library is suffering from the town’s budget cuts.

In an email titled “A Special Message From the Library Director”, Helen Malinka says the following:

You may have heard that the Governor had asked Berlin for a $600,000 give back from the current fiscal year’s budget. This week, there has been an additional request for another $350,000.

Malinka says that the cuts are causing the library to take a hit, causing programs and events to be halted, and a hiring freeze to take place.

The library already cut back on some services, including programming. Malinka says some of them weren’t high-ticket items, but they still took a hit, including the Make & Take Crafts, summer reading, natural cleaning products, concerts, author talks, children’s magic shows, and animal presentations among other things.

Malinka says that they have also not been allowed to hire replacements for two recently retired librarians. They’ve been told that the positions will be reinstated in the 2018-2019 budget, they aren’t 100% sure of that until it makes it through to ratification.

Also some other projects and programs including initiating notary services and visits to local preschools have also been put on hold.

Malinka brings the point home that the library is stretched thin, and are calling on residents to help.

The email cites ways citizens of Berlin can rally behind their library:

Two opportunities to speak on our behalf will be at the Board of Finance meetings on Tuesdays, February 27 and March 13. After the Board of Finance sends its budget recommendation to them, the Town Council will then meet on March 20. By charter, the Town Council cannot increase the budget, but you can speak at the Audience of Citizens during that meeting to ask that there be no further cuts to the library. If cuts are still looming and you cannot attend previous sessions, your presence at the public budget hearing on Tuesday, March 27 will be critical.