By Dot Bergin
Thanks to a bequest from the late Patricia Watson, the Trustees of the Bedford Free Public Library will soon have a dedicated meeting room for their regular monthly meetings. Space has been reconfigured in the room opposite the Reference Desk on the main floor to make a small meeting room, that will be designated the Trustees Meeting Room. The Watson bequest made possible a new conference table and the room should be ready for occupancy soon. As Director Richard Callaghan pointed out, the room will also be available to small groups when not in use by the Trustees and this will free up the large ground-floor meeting for use by others. Space for meetings is at a premium in the Library and staff are always looking for ingenious ways to maximize seating.
In his Director’s report, Callaghan said the Finance Committee had reviewed and approved the proposed Library budget for FY19, at $1,255,915. He urged all to attend Town Meeting beginning on March 26 to support the budget.
The Bowie Knife, which the Trustees earlier voted to sell, is now with Skinner, Inc., Auctioneers, and Appraisers, and is expected to be listed in Skinner’s April 26 auction of “militaria.” In considering the disposition of the Bowie Knife, Callaghan has worked closely with Concord resident Joel Bohy, Skinner Specialist for Historic Arms and Militaria. Skinner is also doing some further background checking on the knife.
Callaghan attended the recent Friends of the Library board meeting to thank the Friends for their strong support of library programs. Preparations are underway for the Friends’ spring book sale on April 6-8.
In preparation for an item that will be on the agenda for the March meeting, the Trustees had an informal conversation about the drastic cuts to library services that are proposed in the recently released Federal budget for FY19. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is slated for a cut of $208 million, with the budgeted amount now standing at $23 million. IMLS is an independent grantmaking agency and the primary source of federal support to the nation’s libraries and museums. As Director Callaghan told the Trustees, the federal funding supports state library services, which in turn provide funding for local libraries. For instance, the Library recently received the first installment of its annual state aid funding of $22,369. The Library is also applying for a Library Services Technical Assistance (LSTA) grant for the Children’s Room. Cuts to the federal library budget have the potential to affect Bedford’s grants and funding.