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Archive for the ‘REICHE Branch’ Category

Hi Folks!  Library meeting TONIGHT!
 
East End Community School
195 North Street
7pm
 
Steve Podgajny (PPL Director) and
Kevin Donoghue (District 1 Councilor)
are heading up a discussion about the EECS/Munjoy library
 
SAVE THE BRANCHES!
 
 
Jo Coyne <jocoyne@gwi.net> wrote:
Hi, Ed and Janice – Just want to be sure you both know that there’s a meeting tomorrow (8/13) at 7 p.m., at the East End Community School. Steve Podgajny and Kevin Donoghue are heading up a discussion about the EECS/Munjoy library. I believe PPL will begin moving the children’s collection from the main library to EECS the following day. I can’t attend because WENA meets at the same time and we have our own library/community center issues on the table. I’m hoping that one or both of you might be able to attend and/or help get the word out to others.
 
I know that despite PPL’s plans to the contrary, questions are still being raised about why the entire children’s collection is going there, rather than being spread among EECS, Reiche and Riverton, the three shared library/school facilities. We’ve made noise over here about having wall shelving installed in the school music room (which was built as part of the community center) with the space to be used as needed by the school and by the library at other times. I believe Steve was told that wasn’t possible but perhaps that could change were enough community pressure brought to bear.
 
Ed, do you think EECS parents understand the implications on instruction of having the school collection boxed up and most of the instructional space taken away? I hope there’s a good turnout of concerned citizens! Jo

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Editorials [Portland Press Herald]
 
City should pressure library to carry through on planning

A one-year reprieve for the Reiche branch should be enough time to set priorities.

May 21, 2008

The Portland City Council got through a tough financial season Monday by passing a budget for next year that cuts services and increases taxes.

One of the most difficult issues was not one of the big-ticket items. It involved adding $30,000 to the $185 million budget to put off what one councilor called “the summary execution” of the Reiche School library branch, which had been slated for closure in a last-minute budget move.

The community will keep its library for one more year while library officials study the best use of their limited resources.

The way it occurred, however, points to a weakness in the way the city’s library system is funded.

The Portland Public Library is an independent nonprofit that is governed by a board of trustees. About 80 percent of its funding comes from Portland taxpayers, and the rest is raised privately. This structure gives the city influence on the total amount the library will receive, but virtually none on how it is spent.

It is difficult to believe that out of a $3 million appropriation, the library could not find another way to cut $30,000 and save the branch from closure. But that decision is made by the trustees and not by elected officials. So councilors were faced with the decision to restore the money to the library budget or see the Reiche branch close.

If city taxpayers are responsible for such a big share of the library budget, they should have more say in how it is spent.

The library trustees should take the time they have been given to go out to the people who are supporting their work and find out the type and locations of the services that people of Portland need from them.

If branches should be closed, library officials should announce it earlier in the budget process and do a better job explaining why it’s necessary.

 

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We did it! Reiche library will stay open…but we have our work cut out for us for the next year if its presence is to be permanent.
 
After two weeks of speaking out in support of Reiche branch library, we can celebrate the restoration of $30,000 in funding that will allow the library to remain open for at least one more year. PPL Director Stephen Podgajny and the PPL Trustees have promised extensive long-range planning with public input during the coming year.
 
District 2 Councilor Dave Marshall asked the Council on May 19 to restore $30,000 from the contingency fund. Residents who contacted City Councilors to ask for their support were pleased that the vote was 6 – 1 in favor of Marshall’s resolution. Jill Duson was the lone councilor to vote against the measure, saying that she couldn’t suport last-minute changes to the budget because the finance committee had worked hard to balance competing community interests.
 
We asked the City Councilors for their help. Now let’s be sure to thank them. Please let Dave Marshall know that we’re grateful for his leadership, especially in sponsoring the resolution. Please thank John Anton for supporting the process so strongly and let Councilors Cohen, Donoghue, Leeman, Mavodones, Skolnik and Suslovic know how much we appreciate their affirmative votes. Contact information may be found at http://www.portlandmaine.gov/citycou.htm . Another person to thank as you see him in the neighborhood is State Representative Jon Hinck, who was with us every step of the way.
 
We will keep you posted on PPL’s long-range planning process, which will eventually determine the fate of Reiche and other branch libraries. Please be ready to raise your voice (again!) when the time is right. A good way to stay close to the process would be to join the newly formed Friends of Reiche. Just email us at wendneighborhood@yahoo.com  to let us know that you’re interested.

[West End Neighborhood Association]

 

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Approved Portland city budget spares Reiche library

City councilors pass a $185 million budget that will reduce the number of polling places.

By KELLEY BOUCHARD, Staff Writer [Portland Press Herald]
 
May 20, 2008

The Reiche Branch of the Portland Public Library will stay open for another year, but the number of polling places will be reduced from 16 to six, under a $185 million municipal budget that was approved unanimously by the Portland City Council on Monday.

Both issues generated strong public reaction in the final week of deliberation over a budget that reduced many city services and eliminated 93 jobs through attrition and layoffs.

Councilors voted 8-1 to restore $30,000 for the Reiche Branch, as proposed by Councilor David Marshall. They transferred the money from a contingency fund, so the change didn’t increase the municipal budget. The main library and its five branches will get the same appropriation – $3.1 million – that they got this fiscal year, covering 82 percent of the library budget.

Councilors who supported the measure said they were swayed by library officials’ promise that it would give them a year to analyze their facilities and services and work with the community to develop a long-range plan to address rising costs, limited financial resources and changing library needs.

“We need to avoid the summary execution of the Reiche Branch that the library trustees have proposed,” said Councilor Daniel Skolnik.

Councilor Jill Duson, who opposed restoring the Reiche Branch’s funding, said she couldn’t support last-minute changes to the budget because the finance committee worked hard to balance competing community interests.

“They all resonate with me,” Duson said.

The council strongly backed City Clerk Linda Cohen’s plan to save about $15,000 on major elections, which cost about $40,000 each. The plan reduces the number of mainland polling places from two to one in Districts 1 and 2, and from three to one in Districts 3, 4 and 5. It also eliminates polling places on Cliff and Great Diamond islands, but keeps one on Peaks Island.

Nine residents spoke against Cohen’s plan, saying that it will decrease voters’ access and increase lines at the polls, which could discourage people from voting, especially younger voters. One resident supported the reduction, saying he had lived in larger cities that had fewer polling places.

In the end, the council voted 7-2 against a proposal by Councilor Kevin Donoghue, which Marshall supported, to keep polling places on Cliff and Great Diamond islands, which cost a total of $2,500 per election. Donoghue said it would be costly and inconvenient for islanders to take a ferry to vote at the District 1 polling place on the mainland.

Most councilors said they believe Cohen will promote public awareness of the changes and encourage voter participation, especially through absentee voting, which represents 30 percent to 50 percent of voting statewide.

In a memo to the council, Cohen said participation increased from 31,000 voters in the 2000 presidential election, when Portland had 24 polling places, to 35,000 voters in the 2004 presidential election, when there were 17 polling places.

In passing the budget, the council also set a property tax rate for the year that starts July 1. The combined $274.5 million for municipal and school budgets will increase Portland’s tax rate by 64 cents (3.7 percent), from $17.10 to $17.74 per $1,000 of assessed property value. At that rate, the tax bill on a $230,000 home will increase $147, from $3,933 to $4,080.

The city budget is $1 million (0.5 percent) higher than the current budget, which ends June 30.

The council and Portland voters previously approved an $89.5 million school budget that eliminated 48 jobs – 28 positions left vacant this year and 20 positions to be cut in 2008-09.

The school budget for the coming year is $3.85 million (4.5 percent) higher than the current $85.7 million budget.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

 

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Dear Mayor Suslovic and Councilors:                                      May 14, 2008

The Riverton Community Association is opposed to the closure of any of Portland’s branch libraries or making any of these branches less than full service (such removing adult books from Munjoy).  We are not asking for more monies for the library system but that the City find a way to secure – as surely as it is securing the main library – the continued existence of the five branches and that such an  agreement is not one that staves off the current citizen uproar but prevents the issue of physically closing the branches from arising again.

Almost 30 years ago – and a very few years after the Riverton School and Branch Library were newly built  – our books were, without our knowledge, boxed up and we were swept up in the attempt to close all the branches with an intent to build a single large branch.  There has been an attempt to close our branch (not to mention others) for so many different reasons that we have lost track.  Because of these various attempts we are familiar with the limitations of the Portland Public Library’s charter but feel that there are ways to honor the charter while securing the branches.

Our branches provide the most assessable and cost effective way to provide library services to children and seniors.   Going back to the mid 70’s circulation differences can mostly be attributed to hours open – which from time to time have not been equitable among the branches – a vision and management issue and not a monetary one.

We would like to work with the City in any way possible to assure this outcome.

Sincerely yours,

Marydee Stinson
Secretary

[Riverton Community Association]

 

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Date: Thu, 15 May 2008
From:  “Neighborhood Associa” <wendneighborhood@yahoo.com>

Subject: URGENT !!!!!!! REICHE LIBRARY CLOSURE

To:  wendneighborhood@yahoo.com
   
District 2 Councilor Dave Marshall will recommend at next week’s City Council meeting that $30,000 be restored to the budget from the contingency fund in order to keep Reiche branch library open for another year. At-Large Councilor John Anton is in support and has called for development of a long range plan by the library’s Board of Trustees before any branches are closed. Planning would be done with public input.
 
Please email the City Councilors today! Ask them to support Councilor Marshall’s proposal and to keep Reiche branch library open by restoring $30,000 to the budget on May 19.

To email all Councilors at once, click on the “Email City Council” box at http://www.portlandmaine.gov/citycou.htm

 

WEST END NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
Trade time and talents through Maine Time Banks

 

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Effort under way to keep Portland library branch open
 
West End residents say restoring $30,000 would save the Reiche Branch and allow for more planning.

By KELLEY BOUCHARD, Staff Writer [Portland Press Herald]
 
May 15, 2008
 
West End residents and others are drumming up support for a budget proposal that would stave off the anticipated closing of the Portland Public Library’s Reiche Branch.

City Councilor David Marshall, who represents the West End, plans to ask the council on Monday to restore $30,000 to the library, giving it $3.1 million for 2008-09, the same amount as this year.

Library officials say the $30,000 will give them a year to analyze their facilities and services and work with the community to develop a long-range plan to address rising costs, limited financial resources and changing library needs.

“We need to secure that $30,000 to buy some breathing room for everyone, especially the kids,” Stephen Podgajny, executive director, said at Wednesday’s board of trustees’ meeting at the main library.

Board members urged an audience of about 50 to call or e-mail councilors before they vote on the Reiche Branch issue during final deliberation of a $185 million city budget starting at 7 p.m. Monday.

“The ball, in the short term, is in their court,” said Nathan Smith, a board vice president and former city councilor.

Library officials shocked West End residents earlier this month when they said they would close the Reiche Branch in response to a $30,000 reduction in city funding. The council initially considered cutting $50,000 from the current funding level.

Then on Monday, library officials gave the council a 15-page memo stating that the current organization and staffing of the main library on Congress Street and its five neighborhood branches “is not sustainable.”

Library officials said they targeted the Reiche Branch because it has the lowest circulation of the city’s six library outlets. They also said Portland has more library outlets per capita (10,776 residents per outlet) than any other city in New England.

At Wednesday’s trustees’ meeting, West End residents described the Reiche Branch as a critical resource in a neighborhood that includes recent immigrants who don’t speak English and longtime residents who live in mansions along the Western Promenade.

“It’s a real melting pot,” said Jo Coyne, a retired school librarian who is a leader of the West End Neighborhood Association. “(The library is) sorely, sorely needed.”

Coyne noted that while Portland taxpayers fund about 82 percent of the library’s budget, the council appoints only one representative to the 19-member board of trustees, which decides how to spend the money.

The board includes several members from towns outside Portland because the state gives the library about $180,000 each year to serve all residents of Cumberland, York and Oxford counties, Podgajny said.

Looking to Monday, Marshall said it’s uncertain whether a majority of the nine-member council will support his $30,000 proposal. Councilors John Anton, Kevin Donoghue and Cheryl Leeman have indicated they’ll back his effort, he said. Councilors James Cohen and Nicholas Mavodones Jr. said they probably will support the measure.

Mayor Edward Suslovic said he supports keeping the Reiche Branch open while library officials develop a long-range plan, but he may push to restore less than $30,000. Councilor Daniel Skolnik said he’s undecided. Councilor Jill Duson didn’t return calls for comment.

“It has the potential to be a close vote,” Marshall said at the trustees’ meeting. “(Restoring $30,000) might not save the Reiche library forever, but it will give us a chance to have a community dialogue.”

Marshall said the $30,000 would come from a contingency fund, so it wouldn’t increase the budget.

With $30,000, the library would be able to retain two part-time librarians who operate the branch at Reiche Community School 20 hours per week, Podgajny said.

The library would still have to lay off the equivalent of five full-time employees, all of them at the main library. It would be closed on Mondays as a result.

Some residents questioned whether Monday is the best day to close the main library.

Others questioned plans to temporarily move children’s services from the main library to the Munjoy Hill Branch during an $8.5 million renovation of the main library, which starts next spring.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

Copyright © 2008 Blethen Maine Newspapers

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