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Town leaders looking to keep library open on weekends

Posted by L. Kim Tan  August 10, 2011 05:57 PM

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Norwood leaders are looking for ways to keep the town’s public library open on weekends, after library trustees announced they have to eliminate Sunday hours for the 2012 fiscal year because of budget cuts.

At the Board of Selectmen's meeting last night, members said they were concerned that, if the library were to remain closed on Saturdays from July through September and now on Sundays for the entire year, many residents would not have access to the library.

“I am trying to have the library open in the summer for a couple of hours so that people who work five days a week can have a chance to go and use the library, use the computers, use the books,” said Selectwoman Helen Abdallah Donohue. She suggested that the Board of Library Trustees look for more money to fund the library budget.

The Morrill Memorial Library’s budget for part-time employees was reduced by $34,000 compared with last year's budget, forcing it to cut Sunday opening hours of 2-5 p.m. from Columbus Day to Memorial Day. The decision to eliminate the Sunday hours was made at the July 27 Board of Library Trustees meeting but was not announced until recently, when the part-time staffers were notified that their hours would be cut.

“This was a budget that we knew we were going to have to live with,” said Stuart Plumber, chairman of the Board of Library Trustees, in an interview. He said closing on Sundays, starting in the fall, will result in savings of between $15,000 and $17,000.

In other business at the selectmen's meeting, Police Chief Bartley King Jr. and Fire Chief Michael Howard presented their monthly reports.

During the month of July, the Norwood Police Department issued 449 citations, made 68 arrests, and reported 70 motor vehicle accidents. The Norwood Fire Department attended to 421 fire and medical emergencies, a year-to-date increase of 2.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Superintendant Gerard Miller of the Norwood Recreation Department announced the Father Mac pool will close on Aug. 21 this year.

Also, Economic Development Committee member Michael Gallerani’s request for an extended leave of absence was approved by a majority vote; a request to set up a donation account for the Police Department was tabled for further discussion; and a request for a rock concert by a Walpole Eagle Scout was tabled pending further details.

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