Letter: Give the Saint Helena Public Library its due | Opinion
One of Saint Helena’s treasures is our public library. Last year (2021), all employees won the Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Employee of the Year” award.
This isn’t your grandmother’s library where keeping quiet was the order of the day. The St. Helena Public Library is our own de facto community center serving the entire Upper Valley as well as those from afar. Besides all the normal library functions for consulting books or videos, it has outdoor picnic areas, 24-hour Wi-Fi, an art gallery, a cooling station on hot days, a communication center during fires, a community meeting room, story time, puppet shows, after-school safe work space for students waiting from being picked up by their parents, special presentations on a wide variety of topics, tax help, electronic help, reference help, ongoing book sales, world class wine library – I could go again and again. And to all the wonderful, helpful and caring staff.
And that’s why I write. In the last budget, someone seems to have forgotten that the library has been operating without two employees, one for two years and the other for a year. There is a modest amount in the budget to provide an increase in the amount of part-time staff, but no money for full-time positions and no increase to bring staff up to par with other libraries’ salaries . We therefore expect more and more of an already overworked and underpaid staff.
We always seem to have the money for this study and this consultant, but how about paying the people we have what they’re worth to stay? The city of Saint Helena continues to lose staff. Why? Personally, I think the library is one of our greatest assets. The city must give it its due.