Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Horrors in Hamden ("All politics is local. - Tip O'Neill)

I received an email from a former staff member to alert me to what I am calling "Horrors in Hamden."

I worked in the Town of Hamden, but not for the town, for almost six years. I was the Executive Director of the Southern Connecticut Library Council (SCLC). Hamden Public Library was one of the members of SCLC, and there often were staff members on the Board of SCLC. At one time in its history, the SCLC offices had been located in the Hamden Library, but they moved out prior to my arrival.

I was sent two links to articles in the local papers about what happened. The first tells of the Council's actions on the budget, and the Library Board's reaction. The second is an opinion piece by one of the Council members.

Now, for those who are not familiar with Connecticut Laws, Title 11, Chapter 190 of the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) governs libraries. The section with the powers of Library Boards is very clear. The municipality can set the budget, but the Library Board is the only one with the power to divide it and spend it for specific purposes. There are not a lot of budget battles I have won lately, but that is one which is clear, even to the politicians in Bridgeport.

I wish Hamden Library Director Bob Gualtieri all the best in this fight.


  1. In Fairfield, there is a sign in the library which says that their funding has been "drastically cut." They use that font too, except in red. I just thought it was rather amusing considering the huge renovations done to the livbrary in recent years.

  2. Richard-

    The renovations come from the Town's Capital budget for which the town sells bonds. The money to run the library comes from the annual operating budget, which comes from the property taxes paid each year.

    Most public libraries, in Connecticut at least, are facing a tough year.