The bad news:
"$4.3 million in back pay could lead to layoffs" read the title of a January 18th article by Andrew Firestone in the Somerville News. The article went on to explain that the payment to firefighters, mandated by the State Joint Labor Management Council in December, could necessitate layoffs, positions left vacant, and of primary concern to us, the West Somerville library being shuttered. The news prompted Somerville Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz to email her constituents about the proposed shutdown and about an open meeting to be held by the mayor that evening.
The good news:
Many concerned citizens attended the meeting to voice their despair over the potential library closing. As of 5PM on the 19th, it was announced that that the mayor and firefighters had reached a compromise on the payment schedule, and that there would be no layoffs and no library closings.
For those of us who recognize the importance of our Cambridge libraries, this recent situation in our neighboring city should serve as a reminder that we can't keep that knowledge to ourselves. Alderman Gerwitz commented in a follow-up email that she was "heartened by how much solidarity there is in our community for the institutions and systems like the library that connect us."
Here in Cambridge we have been fortunate that our city officials have been enthusiastic library supporters. The Friends value that support and hope that, if the opportunity presents itself, you will remind our councillors how much YOU value the library.
There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.