Buckfield makes library policy changes after 90-minute debate


BUCKFIELD — After a 90-minute discussion of the policies of the Zadoc Long Free Library, the select council on Tuesday accepted a request from the library committee to adjust four terms of reference in the operating guide.

In a letter, committee secretary Bill Glass proposed that the library suspend late fees for overdue books, extend the payment period from two weeks to three weeks, eliminate the $5 processing fee to replace a lost book and reduce the price of printed color copies by 50 cents. per page at 25 cents.

He pointed out that the Maine State Library is advising that late book fines are no longer considered a best practice for libraries.

Customers will be required to return all overdue books before they can view other books.

He also felt that the copying charges were excessive and unfair. He noted that the people who received copies were those who did not have access to a copier at home.

“We do it on the backs of the people who can least afford it,” Glass said.

Although acting city manager Cameron Hinkley expressed some concerns about the potential loss of revenue from the changes, the council was broadly supportive of all four changes.

What got the board thinking was the library’s policy of accepting donated books and the use of library space by the non-profit group Friends of Zadoc Long Free Library.

Selector Sandra Fickett said the library’s policy should be consistent with other city departments.

The committee recommended that the library director be authorized to accept book donations up to $500. City policy, however, determined by vote at a town meeting, that only the city manager has the authority to accept gifts up to $5,000.

The board has decided not to give the library director the ability to accept donations at this time and to keep the policy consistent across all departments.

Allowing the Friends group to use the building for meetings would violate city policy, Fickett said.

Hinkley said the group should complete the required paperwork every six months and notify his office at least 24 hours before any meeting.

In other business, the council approved an $18,168 bid from Simard & Sons of Hampden for a fuel management system for the fire, rescue and public works services. The estimate includes the replacement of two pumps and the installation of the electricity necessary for the operation of the new system. The city must install a concrete slab of 36 x 36 x 6 inches to mount the system.

The board also approved spending $2,256 on two Apple iPads with routers that function as a mobile hotspot for the fire department’s engine and tanker.

The fuel management system and iPads will be paid for from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act allotment.

City Clerk Brittany Parrott has been appointed City Officer for the Registry of Motor Vehicles. As soon as she has completed her training, residents should be able to register their vehicles and receive plates at the Town Hall.

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