Director: Wareham library on road to re-certification

Expanded hours to start July 10
By Matthew Bernat | Jun 21, 2017
Photo by: Zarrin Ahmed Wareham Free Library Director Michael Carlozzi said he hopes to have the library recertified by this time next year. Part of that process includes opening the library for more hours per week.

With a budget bump, increased hours and a qualified director at the helm, the Wareham Free Library plans to regain its certification by this time next year.

Wareham Free Library Director Michael Carlozzi recently announced expanded hours for the main library and Spinney Branch. The move means the library will be open at least 40 hours a week, one of the key components of re-certification.

After the library suffered budget cuts in 2014, the state revoked its certification. Since then, the library has not received state aid, which had amounted to $20,000 annually.

Library hours and staff were cut as a result of the loss. Decertification also prevented patrons from borrowing or placing holds on books and materials from other libraries, except in Freetown, Somerset and Assonet. Those towns agreed to work with the Wareham Free Library despite its decertification.

Since then, groups such as the Friends of the Wareham Free Library and the Wareham Free Library Foundation have been raising funds to support the library.

While the loss of state aid is unfortunate, Carlozzi said Wareham patrons not being able to borrow books from other libraries is a bigger blow.

“Resident lost access to literally millions of items, basically every book in the state,” said Carlozzi. “That’s been pretty debilitating.”

Re-certification would restore those borrowing privileges, he said.

In addition to being open 40 hours a week, other state requirements for re-certification include spending 12 percent of the library’s total budget on materials and employ a library director with a master’s degree.

The latter requirement was met in June 2016 when Carlozzi, a Wareham native, was hired to replace former Director Denise Medeiros.

Both the Friends of the Wareham Free Library and the Wareham Free Library Foundation have bolstered the library’s budget through ongoing fundraising efforts.

Carlozzi said that money will be used to meet the spending requirement.

In addition, the town of Wareham has increased its support for the library. Last fiscal year, the town spent $216,000 on the library. This fiscal year, the budget increased to $250,000.

Carlozzi said ideally the library’s budget should be near $400,000 to offer services for a town Wareham’s size, but he noted he was aware of the town’s fiscal constraints.

In any event, Carlozzi said it appears the library will be ready to turn the page on decertification next summer.

“We’re certainly headed in the right direction,” he said.

Beginning July 10, the main library’s new hours will be: Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hours at the Spinney Memorial Branch, 259 Onset Ave., are as follows: Monday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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