Friday, June 11, 2010

WMRLS Merger Voting Completed / Open House June 15

The following message was posted to the WMRLS Email Discussion List on Thursday, June 10, 2010:

Dear Western Massachusetts Library Community:

Yesterday morning, June 9, the final votes were tallied on the proposed merger of the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System (WMRLS), with the other regions, into the new Massachusetts Library System (MLS). The required 2/3 of the voting representatives to the Council of Members voted to proceed with the merger. The WMRLS Executive Board confirmed the vote yesterday afternoon, and signed the necessary documents.

We know there were many concerns about the loss of WMRLS and fear that Western libraries might be overlooked by a statewide organization located far away. The grass roots advocacy and support of all of you, including the Friends of WMRLS, the We Love Western Mass Libraries FaceBook page, the media and library users throughout the 4 county area certainly made a difference and ensured that the voice of Western Massachusetts would be heard. We also deeply appreciate the help and responsiveness of Western Representatives and Senators. In the end, however, there was to be no restoration of the 29% State budget cut to Board of Library Commissioner regional account (7000-9401). This cut, following earlier reductions, would have made it extremely difficult for WMRLS to continue offering all the services required that our libraries have relied on for almost 50 years.

It is expected that final language in the FY11 State budget will call for the new MLS organization to continue operating the WMRLS headquarters in Whately, at least through June of 2011. We hope member libraries will continue to enjoy workshops and meetings at this state-of-the art facility. It is also planned that our excellent delivery service provided by our drivers will continue at least for the next year. Remember, you are now part of the Massachusetts Library System. It is important that you stay involved, and make sure the new organization is aware of your needs.

It has been an honor and a privilege for all of us at WMRLS to serve you over the years. We hope as many of you as possible can try to join us at WMRLS in Whately on Tuesday, June 15, for an Open House between 2 and 5 p.m. arranged by the Friends of WMRLS, whose advocacy, fundraising and public awareness efforts have meant so much to us.


John Ramsay

Regional Administrator

Western Massachusetts Regional Library System

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