Jamaica mulls combining library collections
JAMAICA -- A small collection of books and journals at the Jamaica Village School’s library is moving back into the classrooms later this month. And perhaps a portion of the collection will head to the town library as well.
Principal Laura Hazard of Jamaica Village School presented a proposal combining the two collections before the Selectboard earlier this fall, saying it would clear room on the school grounds and provide additional space for students at the town library.
"If the Jamaica Town Library would benefit from receiving some of the collection, we would certainly have it go there. If not, it would be discarded either for children and families to look through first before it goes elsewhere," she said. "So the stage that we’re at right now is simply doing that sorting."
Over the holiday break, school officials will shift a portion of their library books into classrooms for teachers, but no decision has been made on the bulk of the collection. So Hazard has worked with the library trustees in Jamaica to possibly relocate the remaining assortment of books and periodicals to the town-owned building down the street.
"As far as combining the two libraries, it’s not an actual full-merge if it were to happen because some of the books from our collection, as I said, are going back into the classrooms because the teachers use them on a regular basis," Hazard added. "The problem is our collection isn’t large enough and we don’t have the funds to maintain it and we don’t have space to keep it. Because our town library is so close, optimally each class would go there at least once a week and access their collection."
Library Trustee Jennifer Dorta-Duque said the proposal is under consideration, but there has been no decision.
"Unfortunately our budget at this time doesn’t support taking on more hours so we need to table the decision to maybe even Town Meeting when we can ask for a larger appropriation," she said. "We’re kind of going through the process of figuring out what we can do."
The library is a town-owned building run by the trustees, according to Selectboard Chairwoman Alexandra Clark. "The town gives the trustees [a certain] amount of dollars every year to run the library -- they pay for the lights, all the utilities and the librarians."
Selectboard member Lou Bruso said the board does not deal with the integration of the collection, but remembers going to the library when his daughter was young to get her a card.
"I think it’s so important for kids to get used to spending time in the library, so I think it’s a great idea if the school doesn’t have the room for it and I’m all for providing that space," he said.
The initial idea to combine the libraries came after Hazard recommended the Jamaica School Board stop maintaining the underutilized modular building. In the modular is the small library, which is just big enough to keep the entire collection from coming back into the school.
Jamaica’s town library recently added a basement that is presently inaccessible, so school officials have suggested selling the modular building and using the proceeds to create a children’s room in the new space.
"We just created that space when we fixed the foundation of the library, but we’re still fundraising to do that," said Dorta-Duque.
Chris Garofolo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311 ext. 275.
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