Trustee Harris Elder announces he will be stepping down after 15 years on the board.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A thermal windowpane that protects the library's stained-glass window at the new entrance may not be repairable.
Library Director Mindy Hackner told the trustees Wednesday that she cannot find anyone willing to make the repair.
"So we are kind of stuck with that right now," she said. "We can still call a few more glass people but I kind of just put it on the back burner right now."
The one-of-a-kind stained-glass work was created by Deborah Coombs and features the original front entrance and a listing of all the donors who contributed $1,000 or more to the 19th-century library's renovation and addition more than a decade ago.
Hackner said she does not know how or who cracked it but does know the window is not supposed to come out.
"It was put in with the old European method that they used on churches which means it isn't supposed to come out for 500 or 600 years," Hackner said. "I told the artist and when she heard that we might have to take it out she freaked out and came right up here. She said if it gets damaged it is almost irreplaceable."
Hackner said everyone she has contacted is afraid to take on the project and the person who installed the window is now retired and living in Texas.
"Everyone I have talked to said 'no way,' they don't want to touch it," she said.
Hackner said it was suggested to her to take the pane out from the outside but she also was advised against this because it would mean taking a saw to the window and the stained-glass pane would not be held in place.
She said the city is aware of the issue and for the time being there is not much the library can do until it find someone willing to take on the project.
"I did tape up the outside so it wouldn't crack anymore," she said. "There is no harm to the public and there is some really heavy book tape on it."
In other business, Hackner said the library will apply for another waiver from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners as the city does not plan to fund the library to the level the state requires.
Hackner said there are 10 libraries in the state that apply for waivers and if not granted the library will lose a variety of resources such as interlibrary loan.
"It would reduce us so much," she said. "It would be a big loss for North Adams."
The city has been successful in the past when applying for a waiver -- both Adams and North Adams received them last fiscal year -- and Hackner said City Hall does seem to be sensitive to the issue.
"I think they know it is not a good idea, but I think this is just how they want to handle it," she said. "I think there are a lot of people in City Hall who really resent the Library Board of Commissioners for putting an arbitrary line in the sand."
She said the library not only serves residents but people throughout the county and even state and sends and receives 30,000 books annually to and from other libraries. She added that without the waiver, the North Adams library card carriers could not access these resources from other libraries.
Hackner added that she plans to update the library's disaster plan that already is pretty thorough.
"This is a really definitive plan of who does what if something were to happen ... and a lot of this just needs updating," she said. "It has everything from how to treat books if they get wet from what to do if you find bugs in the books."
Also in regard to emergencies, Hackner added that it may be beneficial to purchase a generator for the library.
"It has been tossed around before just in case there was a flood or ice storm," she said. "I will look into it ... there is something that happens in a power outage if it goes on for too long it could trigger our sprinkler system."
Hackner also went over some annual numbers and said this year there have been 112 adult programs attended by 2,275 people and 183 children programs attended by 3,563.
"People say people don't use the library but that is just not the case," trustee Don Pecor said. "People don't realize how much is going on."
Before closing, chairman Harris Elder announced that he would be stepping down from the trustees after 15 years of service.
"You will be so missed," Hackner said. "You have given a lot to the library."
The trustees will recommend a new member to the mayor who will make the appointment.
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