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North Adams Library Use Consistent

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Despite the pandemic limiting the use of the building, library circulation numbers have remained consistent.
Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo told the trustees in her report Wednesday that circulation numbers are consistent and slightly on the rise.
"The numbers are absolutely not where they were a year ago with people in the building, but they are slowly increasing each month," she said.
The library is lending out material through curbside pick up. Sanfilippo said they are averaging 31 customers a day.
Recently the library has started allowing patrons to access computers in the building through scheduling. Sanfilippo said patrons have enjoyed the return of this service and appointments are usually about 64 percent full.
"They have been pretty popular ... We were worried people would just sign up and not show up, but we have only had a couple of no-shows," she said. "Most people call ahead of time if they cannot come."
She said they have actually been able to facilitate some walk-ins but encourage users to schedule appointments.  
Sanfilippo said users have been good about wearing masks inside the building and during curbside pick up.
"People have been really thankful they could just come in," she said. "They have been wearing their masks."
Also in her report, Sanfilippo said the library has applied for a certification waiver with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.
State-certified libraries not only receive state aid but access to services such as the C/W MARS interlibrary loan. Without certification, the North Adams Public Library would stand alone. 
One of the requirements of certification is a municipal contribution of roughly 1 percent of the city's total budget. 
The city has pledged to work toward this 1 percent proportion and annually has made slight increases to the library's budget. With COVID-19, Sanfilippo said she expected many libraries to apply for the waiver.
"They were anticipating that a lot of libraries will need that waiver this year, but we will see," she said.
The trustees are still looking for a new member to replace Donald Pecor, who retired earlier this year.
"I had a very short conversation with the mayor, and he is looking for someone," Sanfilippo said. "So if anyone has any names to throw out there, I will let him know. He is working on it."
Library trustees are not elected but appointed by the mayor.


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