Dalton Library Trustees Navigate How to Spend State Aid

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The library trustees navigated the best way to spend the state aid during their meeting on Monday evening. 
 
This year, the library received $19,928.23 from state aid, which has to be used to improve the library and the patron experience. 
 
The library receives two state aid disbursements every year. The amounts vary annually based on population and other factors.  
 
Library Director Janet Forest said she is interested in having the library invest in a screen and a projector. 
 
This would be a meaningful addition to the library that numerous library programs can utilize. At the moment, the library has a portable projector and screen. This purchase would allow the library to do more screenings and presentations.  
 
Trustee Leo Quiles said this is a great idea and opens up the possibility of more programming, such as screenings of Academy shorts, which the Berkshire Museum does in its theater. 
 
Forest agreed and said she had communicated with a librarian at the Becket Library, which has an adult movie night. The librarian informed her that libraries must have the right to screen films by paying a licensing fee. 
 
Popular films, like "Barbie," are not cheap, but it aren't prohibitively expensive.
 
The library is still in the early stages of this and is in the process of researching and gathering quotes for the equipment; an early quote was $21,000. 
 
Trustee Fred Sears also recommended Wood Bros. Music in Pittsfield. 
 
Forest also contacted the Office for Information Technology at Williams College because all their rooms have projectors. They sent her a name, but the company has not gotten back to her yet. 
 
She was unsure whether a project like this would have to go out to bid so will confirm with the town.
 
The trustees are also considering renovating the break room to make more space, which would make programming easier. This would include knocking down the wall while maintaining the wooden trim and installing a stainless steel commercial sink. 
 
The sink would be a great addition as it will make cleaning easier, especially for craft programming, Forest said. 
 
The biggest cost of the project would probably be asbestos abatement, as the wall likely has asbestos due to the age of the building, she said. 
 
The next step is to take measurements to determine the scope of the project and go out to bid. 
 
The trustees are still in the initial stages and do not have an idea of the cost or any impact on library operations, which Forest thought would be minimal.
 
 
Part of this project would include updating the sink and vanity of the break room's bathroom using improvement money. This project would have to go out to bid and would not disturb library operations because the library has an alternative bathroom. 
 

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Letter: Berkshire State Delegation Needed to Pass Ban on Puppy Mills

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The public may be aware that I spear-headed local legislation in Pittsfield and Lenox banning the sale of puppies from puppy mills at pet stores. Berkshire Voters for Animals and the Massachusetts Humane Society were strong advocates and helped immensely.

I have received an email from Berkshire Voters for Animals stating, "There is still one of our bills in its original committee that needs to be released by June 14th or it will not have a chance to be passed this session. Time is running out for Massachusetts lawmakers to advance legislation that will prevent commercial dog breeders (puppy mills) from trucking cruelly bred puppies into pet shops. New York, Maryland and California have successfully passed similar laws. Massachusetts should be next!"

The appeal was that "We need you to contact your rep to ask them to contact the House Chair of the Environment Committee to release the bill."

It is my hope that the bill makes it out of committee and not die there, as too many good pieces of proposed legislation often does. I cannot stress how popular these initiatives were. In Pittsfield, I have had ordinances pass that took literally as much as one-half a decade to get passed. No so with this. Dozens upon dozens showed up in support for the ordinance. The Pittsfield City Council passed it immediately, with no debate.

Lenox has an open town meeting where any town resident can show up and vote, and of the dozens upon dozens of people that attended (it may have been over 100, but I am not a good judge of audience size), not a single one voted against the legislation when put to a final vote. In fact, that vote was almost instantaneous.

According to the letter, Sen. Paul Mark and he has spoken with the Senate chair. I respectfully request Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Rep. John Barrett, and Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, excellent legislators of the Berkshire Delegation of whom I am fond of, to help pass S.550/H. 826/S. 549, "An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops" before the 2024 legislative session ends. This salutary law is enjoys widespread and practically unanimous support from the public.
 

Rinaldo Del Gallo
Pittsfield, Mass.

 

 

 

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