In a community meeting room at Medford’s Central Library on Oct. 11, LSSI officials greeted local residents to field their numerous questions. Pat Ashley of Eagle Point Friends of the Library, credited Susan Huntley for arranging this gathering.
LSSI’s Frank Pezzanite highlighted his company’s successful contracts with the Library of Congress, Import/Export Bank, and the Smithsonian. "These are our customers," he said. "Now you in Jackson County are also one of our customers." Pezzanite then introduced Mark L. Smith, who heads the transition team for LSSI.
Smith called to the microphone some of their "new hires." He clarified
that all 55 recently hired LSSI staff members previously worked in
Jackson County Libraries. He also assured the audience that, although
many volunteers will be resuming their prior positions, none would
displace paid staff.
During the question and answer session,
a woman commented that the Shady Cove library seems to be in limbo. She
noted that the books were locked in storage, and she requested a
progress report. Smith replied that Shady Cove’s had been considered a
"pocket branch," prior to the closure. He defined that as meaning a
small, temporary store-front with just the principal resources.
Construction on Shady Cove’s library building will continue, but plans
to secure another "pocket storefront" to use in the interim are well
underway. Anne Guevara, current head of branches, also said she is
diligently working on obtaining a lease agreement for Shady Cove. "We
have a collection of books and shelving ready to go," she said. "We
hope to have definite lease information in a week or so."
regarding staffing touched on LSSI’s practice of always having two
employees on duty in each branch. In Butte Falls and Prospect, internal
management’s policy may waive that two-person requirement.
Eagle Point resident questioned whether middle-school students would
again be able to access computers in their branch after school. She was
assured if they did before, they would again.
concerns dealt with availability of reading rooms, author book
signings, websites, and outreach to homebound elderly citizens. While
Smith could assure a quick return of the website, he emphasized that
resuming some other programs might take more time. "We’re aware; we’re
working on them; and we’ll do them, but we have no definite dates on
all of these services yet."
When a man asked what the
likelihood was that the branches would close again, Pezzanite summed it
up with, we have a five-year contract; our main priority is reopening
the libraries, and resuming the programs for children. We’ll be around
for five years. "That’s about as much of a guaranty anybody can ever
give," Smith concluded.
by F. C. Blake
Of the Independent