Retiree Endorses Trustee Candidates

Retiree voices an opinion


I recently retired as an adult reference librarian and Head of the Local History and Community Relations Department at New City Library. Through my more than sixteen years of employment, I have had the privilege to meet many wonderful patrons, county groups and talented presenters. I was most fortunate to work in a job I enjoyed.

I have also seen many changes through these years. Technology, of course has had one of the greatest impacts upon libraries today. These changes have greatly benefited the efficiency of library management and aided the patrons researching strategies.

However, I have also witnessed a departure from a well- organized, prepared and active group of Board of Trustees, elected members from the Clarkstown public whose primary responsibility is to make library policy. The public has viewed and read about the gradual decline of a cooperative group of nine people who should understand library bylaws as well as rules of order. We are now facing a group of majority-voting members who attend meetings ill-prepared or unaware of library procedures.

During this year, we have watched the removal, at will, of a proactive library director, the resignation of a long-time business manager, and the loss of a bookkeeper. There has been no attempt to hire replacements as the Board feels it has the responsibility to hire all personnel, yet at the same time, takes no action. The Interim Director has become a figurehead. And finally, the loss of the head of Community Relations with no replacement in sight, equates to absence of management over the adult programs offered to the public.

We have a lot of bickering and fighting amongst these nine people of whom, three attempt to follow the established protocols and by-laws. If you check the 2012 monthly board minutes, you will see very little library business has been accomplished.

For those reading this who know me, you will agree that I have been an ardent supporter for the New City Library. To see this rapid decline is at best, most upsetting to me. There is an election coming up December 12, 9AM – 9PM in the library to replace three outgoing trustees. Elected members will serve a three-year term.  It is imperative that the public votes for three candidates who understand library services; are active patrons who read and, who want to bring quality back to policy decisions.

I would ask you consider the following candidates: Ed Kallen, George Jacobson and Victor Berger. These three candidates are both active Rockland community members as well as professionals in the work place. For a full description about these candidates’ qualifications, go to New City Library Watch (www.nclibrarywatch.org), an organization growing in support, who has been diligent in reporting the trustee actions after each monthly board meeting. Better still, become a Watch supporter. It costs nothing except your time and interest to help this library get back on track and begin healing. 

Sally Pellegrini
Warwick, NY

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Laura November 28, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Where can the public read about ALL of the candidates? (Not just those that nclibrarywatch lists).
Mary Beth November 29, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Laura, the public can read about all 6 of the trustee candidates on the New City Library website. Each of the 6 has prepared a personal statement about his or her background and qualifications. The statements will be posted on the website some time before the election.
Dan Weisberg November 29, 2012 at 02:46 AM
If each candidate has already submitted a prepared statement, what is the library waiting for before posting them - the night before the election? Put them up now so the public has time to read them and do some research if they so desire based upon what they read. I read the librarywatch blog and it was pretty one sided to me. No disrespect to Ms. Pellegrini, but somehow an active patron who reads is not high on my list of qualifications to oversee the library (I'm guessing you mean someone who reads books checked out from this particular library). I'm also skeptical that the library is high on the list of factors that impact home values - quality of schools, quality of life, quality of parks and recreation yes, but the library?
Mary Beth December 02, 2012 at 10:33 PM
The New City Library serves a community of about 50,000 people and provides a wide range of services to patrons of all ages and interests. The quality of life in this community is enhanced by our library. The school system and our library make this community notable for educational opportunity, which certainly impacts home values. This is why we need library trustees who will work to do what's best for the library, and not use the library board for personal power and political agendas. Yet this is what has been going on and this is why LibraryWatch exists. The "watchers" want trustees who are independent of the group who controls the board and has now taken control of the library. That's why the watchers are supporting independent candidates Jacobson, Berger, and Kallen.


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