In Freeport, patrons of our library are saddened by the retirement of two extraordinary librarians, Vicki Lowe and Elaine Schmidt. What most do not know is that neither librarian planned or wanted to retire, but only did so because the Town Council was cutting two of the seven full-time positions in the library. These were the only full-time positions eliminated in the town budget. Although these are difficult economic times, and the Town Council had to make some difficult decisions, this decision was very shortsighted. The library’s circulation is up considerably, and yet the library will have to struggle to operate with less help. When the library board surveyed our patrons this past year, most patrons wanted us to increase the library’s hours. We are trying not to decrease them.
Even more importantly, the talent, experience and dedication possessed by these two women will be hard to replace. It will take years for a new part-time hire to gain the knowledge and skills that Vicki and Elaine possess. No one knows Freeport history like Vicki, and the many people who have come to her for help with genealogical research will have to find their own way. Although more people use the library than most other town services, it is considered a low priority by our councilors and town manager. I would gladly have paid a few extra dollars each year on my tax bill to keep this important service. If you are concerned about the decimation of our library staff, make your voice heard.
Shari Broder, president
Freeport Community Library