The library building is owned by a private organization, the Barre Library Association, which does not have the money to maintain the building beyond the end of June.
I asked the MBLC how many libraries were in a similar situation (that is, a town library in a building not owned by the municipality).
They pointed me to this site, where it is noted that “on the 2004 survey [of MA libraries], 54 libraries indicated that the main independent library facility in their city or town was owned by a corporation or association, nine indicated that the facilities were owned by an entity other than a corporation or association, or the municipality.”
Besides Barre, some of the area towns that have their main library facility owned by a corporation or organization are Gardner, Ayer, Ware, Warren, Hopkinton, Whitinsville/Northbridge, Petersham, and Natick (Bacon and Morse).
Obviously, the situation in Barre is quite dire. If the library association doesn’t come up with money to pay for the building maintenance and upkeep (not including much-needed repairs), the library would be closed and residents of the town would not have borrowing privileges at other Massachusetts libraries.
And the economic downturn means that the elected officials have told the library to fend for themselves:
Selectmen suggested the library trustees and association do whatever possible to minimize reliance on taxpayers beyond the annual budget.
We will leave without comment the notions that “taxpayers” are somehow considered separate from “you folks who read books” and that repairs to the library’s Children’s Room should only be the responsibility of bibliophiles.