Special to the Transcript
On August 6, a read-in will take place in the lawn outside Town Hall (1 Metcalf Square) in Winthrop starting at 4:00 pm. This protest is intended to highlight the Town Manager’s refusal to rehire the town library’s furloughed staff, at great detriment to the town.
While many libraries are reopening with limited services throughout the Commonwealth, Winthrop is significantly behind the curve with respect to its library services. The money for these positions has been allocated in the town budget, and still the Town Manager, Austin Faison, has repeatedly refused to meet with union negotiators. He has also stonewalled repeated requests from concerned residents to provide transparency on the situation.
As a July 23 letter to the editor printed in the The Winthrop Transcript and signed by a group of concerned residents stated, “The furloughed staff have devised a benchmarked, dated plan explaining how they could offer safe and equitable pick up and hold services to patrons and return to working inside the building in teams in socially distanced areas. There is ample work the staff can do in and for the library even if the building itself remains closed to the public. These tasks include: receiving and stocking inventory; updating materials and databases; archiving historical materials for the attached Winthrop public museum; and planning and executing virtual events and services such story times for children, lectures, and discussion groups, as many other town libraries are already doing.”
Sadly, the Winthrop library is currently doing none of these things. As the furloughed workers wrote in August 30 in The Winthrop Transcript, “This closure is hurting our town’s most vulnerable populations. Children, seniors, and people who live alone need more virtual programming and other ways to connect with the wider community. As we have suggested in our proposals, our team of eight furloughed staff could be offering storytimes, book clubs, interviews with authors, and much more online, if we were recalled. We want to serve out patrons and help rebuild our community as we struggle through and past this pandemic together.”
The protests are planned to shed light on this lamentable situation.
For more information contact: Suzanne Leonard, 414-688-0793, [email protected]