Proposition 2 ½ Override required to keep Bancroft Memorial Library Open
On Tuesday, May 16th, Hopedale residents will convene for a spring Town Meeting that will
include an override request of $1,350,000 on the warrant to fund the FY24 Operating Budget. The override is required in order to maintain critical town services. A special town election would be scheduled for approval of the override on May 23rd at the Draper Memorial Gymnasium. If the Override fails to pass, the result will be drastic cuts to the school budget, and closure of the Bancroft Memorial Library, the Council on Aging and the Parks Department. It is estimated that an override of $1.350M will result in a total increase of $562 to the average home owner (based on average single family value of $450,000). This would be in addition to the “average” annual increase in your tax bill of approximately $268. The total increase for an average homeowner is estimated to be $830/year (which would average out to less than $16 per week).
If the override fails, the Library’s historic oak doors will be shuttered on July 1st; accompanied by lost opportunities to promote early literacy, encourage readers to explore fantastical journeys of imagination or intrigue, or better comprehend what is going on in the world we inhabit. If the Library closes, treasures and resources within will no longer be accessible to patrons, but will instead be browsed solely by well-read dust motes lingering amidst the stacks.
Closing the Library will result in an immediate loss of certification in the State Aid to Public Libraries Programs and the Library will lose eligibility for many state and federal grants. Access to shared Libby (Overdrive) collections will be terminated, and patrons will be unable to take advantage of services at other libraries, including inter-library loan privileges. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has made information regarding State Aid available on its website.
Regaining certification could take several years, as the state Board of Library Commissioners requires libraries to meet minimum requirements for a year before it will reconsider certification. Additionally, certified libraries in other communities are not required to serve residents of Hopedale. The decision on whether to serve a decertified community is up to each library’s trustee board. Hopedale belongs to the CWMars Network, and it is likely that many member libraries will not continue partnerships with Hopedale, citing the lack of reciprocity that would exist due to the Library’s closure. In a quick survey of local libraries, Bellingham, Milford, Blackstone, and Upton are among those which would no longer serve Hopedale residents.
For more information about the FY24 Budget, please visit the Town of Hopedale’s Website to View Town Agendas, Meeting Minutes, and Meeting Videos (www.hopedale.gov).