A measure proposed by Councilor Richard Dell Isola Jr. to amend the City’s administrative code would effectively abolish the Everett Libraries Board of Trustees.
The measure wasn’t an open and shut decision, though, as it invited significant pushback from the local community, who turned out in large numbers on Monday night to speak on behalf of the public library system.
The Everett Libraries are governed by a Board of 13 Trustees nominated by the Mayor. Their extensive responsibilities include setting library policy, approving expenses, overseeing special funds, vetting candidates for Library Director and maintaining all library buildings. Trustees often advocate for public libraries and their importance to the local community.
“The Board of Trustees is a very important role,” resident Patty Cheever told Council. “It was troubling to a lot of people that this change was being made without public input.”
Resident Samantha Lambert, also a Library Trustee, said, “Libraries are more than buildings, they are contributions to the character of our city. Libraries offer our cities places of respite in times of need, a haven where people can find their own conclusions.”
Lambert urged the Council to consider input from the Board of Trustees, and also mentioned the many library resources that benefit local families that otherwise would not be available to them, like coding classes and programs for people with special needs.
Gerly Adrien, Everett resident and former candidate for state representative, also loaned her voice in support of library trustees, calling them “powerful advocates for our city.”
Councilor Rosa DiFlorio motioned to postpone the vote on this issue for another two weeks until the next Council meeting. She also agreed that there should be robust community input until that point.
Councilor Anthony DiPierro asked to amend the motion to include a detailed presentation on the “reason and rationale” behind every change to the current administrative code.
Councilor Peter Napolitano mentioned that the last time there were changes to the city code six years ago, there had been a comprehensive presentation. He urged the Council to “give the powers that be the time they need to get a decent presentation together.” City Solicitor Colleen Mejia said she would need at least two weeks to get together the presentation requested by Council. At the close of the committee meeting, a date had still not been set, but Council President Dell Isola Jr. said that the Council would advertise the meeting in the newspaper as well as on Everett Community Television in order to ensure the opportunity for public participation.