At the end of this month, as happens at the end of every November, the City Council will accept applications for two new members of the Worcester Public Library Board of Directors.
There’s usually not a lot of notice — just a week or two — so if you (or someone you know) might be interested in serving on the library board, I encourage you (or your friend) to start thinking now about whether to apply. I recommend that you:
- attend the next library board meeting (Tuesday, November 13, 5pm, Dr. John Green Room) to see what the meetings are like
- contact a library board member to see what the workload is like
- familiarize yourself with the process for applying (it involves a certain degree of politicking with city councilors)
Full disclosure: I’m applying to be on the library board this year.
For all you library aficionados:
You may recall that last year, Councilor Lukes complained about the library board selection process; Daily Worcesteria noted that she “asks if for the next library board vote there could be some kind of note or presentation that shows folks what typically earns a city councilor’s vote for library board, and how this process differs from joining other committees.”
That city councilors are not pleased with the way the process works is nothing new; from a Telegram article of December 26, 2000:
Some city councilors did not care for the process that was used to elect the new public library directors. The City Council elected the directors while many of the 10 candidates were seated in the council chamber.
District 5 Councilor Stephen G. Abraham said the process was awkward because it is difficult for councilors to assess who is best qualified to serve. While City Manager Thomas R. Hoover and the Citizens Advisory Council interview candidates for appointment to most city boards and commissions, the council holds no such interview for its library board appointments.
Mr. Abraham said that makes it difficult for councilors to get to know all the candidates and their credentials. He suggested that the council review the process it uses to appoint library directors, but he got little support from his colleagues.
As an alternative, all 11 city councilors, led by Mayor Raymond V. Mariano, have filed an order for the Jan. 2 council meeting, requesting the council establish goals for appointment to the library board. Those goals would also include district representation and appropriate representation for under-represented groups.
Such rules, of course, never happened.
We’ll see how this year goes.