'No justification for Library Trustees to continue to finance the Kidder Building'

 

To the Editor:

The Milton Library Board of Trustees seeks to sell the Kidder Building in West Milton.

There are two important reasons for them to do this: a) the building serves no purpose and has no value with regard to the library’s strategic goals and mission and b) the building is a significant drain on library resources.

The trustees hold the deed to the Kidder Building, which was donated to the town by Nathaniel Kidder, and are responsible for ensuring that the donation be used to benefit the public, specifically Milton library patrons.

The Milton Times recently published a letter which stated: "The [Trustees'] responsibility is to maintain the building and make sure it is in good shape. It is the town itself that owns the buildings. The monies generated from the sale of town property go back to the town coffers.”

None of that is correct.

The Trustees' responsibility is to oversee library finances, establish policies, hire the director, and provide oversight to ensure that available resources deliver the highest quality services possible.

Some might argue that investing funds in a building that is not used to meet the needs of patrons and continues to deteriorate is irresponsible.

The town does not own the building; the deed is very clear on that.

Lastly, the monies generated from the sale will not go into town coffers. They will go into a library fund, the interest of which will be applied to library purposes that the Trustees deem fit.

The process the Trustees followed to explore options for the Kidder building was thorough and rigorous. It began approximately four years ago when I was a member of the board.

Public forums have been held and town boards and organizations have been consulted and gauged for their potential interest (e.g. the schools, Consolidated Facilities, Parks and Recreation, Select Board, Milton Substance Abuse Coalition, MATV, etc).

The decision to seek a sale is not an easy one, but our sovereign boards are elected to provide leadership as well as stewardship. This decision by the Trustees shows leadership and demonstrates that they take their responsibilities seriously.

There is no justification for the Trustees of the Milton Public Library to continue to finance the Kidder Building, which serves no evident library purpose.

 

Frank Schroth

Former Library Trustee

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