Library trustees meet with new staff

|Noreen Williams|

The library trustees meeting on February 17th began with an introduction to the new library director, Lee Shaw, and the new assistant librarian, Emily Martin. Lee updated everyone on the immediate focus, which is beginning curbside service on February 23rd. They have been setting up computers and getting ready for the return of service. Lee and Emily have decided to call this “Lobby Service” and the pickup will be inside the entryway of the library. Requests can be made through the online catalog (New Gloucester Public Library ( or by calling during library hours (Tuesday to Saturday 11-5), or emailing ( Requested material will be in labelled bags on carts inside the lobby. Emily started work on Tuesday February 16th and has been excited about preparing for the start of library services.

The financial statement from the 2021 budget was presented by Lee Shaw. It may not include the recently approved cleaning services for the reopening of the library. Lee also presented the statement for the library gift and endowment funds. He is requesting that some of the gift funds be used for new books and library cards.

Lee talked about the use of a leasing service that would allow the library to get 120 new books per year at a cost of $2190. The advantages were that the new books would arrive and be available to patrons on their publication date and could be returned to the service once the interest in the new bestsellers decreased. One out of five of the books could be kept and the others would not be taking up the limited shelf space. Discussion over the pros and cons included the facts that the newest releases would be available to patrons on the day of release and that might bring in new/more patrons, but these books would not then be available for the book sale and the cost per book is somewhat higher than for purchase. The Board concluded that it would be worth trying a pilot of the leasing program to see how well it works.

The proposed new library cards would be barcoded and of more durable material that would be issued to all new patrons and continuing patrons on request. The cost would be $700-800 per 500 cards and would have a design specific to the New Gloucester library. There are about 2000 library patrons currently, so multiple orders might be needed in the future.

Lee asked for $2000 from the gift account to add to the current book budget to use for the leasing pilot program and library cards. The Board of Trustees approved the request on the condition that it could be confirmed that the gift money was allowed to be used for these purposes.

There was some discussion of the library endowment. Only 50% of the annual accrued interest can be used, which provides a very small amount of funds per year. The Chair of the Board of Trustees, CeCe Rohrbach, indicated that at a later point she would like to discuss ways to increase the endowment.

The proposed library budget for 2022 is on the town website and includes money for a computer laboratory, programming, and professional cleaning services in addition to the usual expenditures.

The next meeting is scheduled on April 12th.