The Executive Board of the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System (WMRLS)* met on June 17th to hear a recommendation by Mass. Library System Executive Director, Greg Pronevitz, to investigate new avenues, in addition to continuing to seek a tenant, to eliminate the unnecessary costs incurred for the Whately facility as well as the staff responsibilities required to manage a large building. These avenues include putting the facility up for sale. The Board voted to accept the recommendation.
The MLS Executive Board’s next meeting is July 22nd in Whately. At 12 noon-1 pm MLS will host a discussion to gather input from stakeholders on the future of MLS’s ongoing presence in western Massachusetts. We invite members and stakeholders to attend and take part in a conversation about MLS’s long-term future in Western Massachusetts. As we begin to consider alternative locations, we need to hear the members’ preferences.
Please register online so we can plan for your attendance:
The MLS Executive Board is committed to maintaining a presence with appropriate office and training/meeting facilities in Western Massachusetts. In addition to the Board’s commitment, language in that state budget also requires such a location. Six of MLS’s 18 full-time employees are based in Whatley and the meeting room is one of our most frequently used training locations. To recognize the strong feelings that many members and stakeholders in western Massachusetts have for this facility, we have spent the past 19 months working with a local realtor to find a tenant to allow us to recover costs for a large amount of surplus space in the building. No viable tenants that would make a significant contribution to cost-effectiveness have come forward. Now we must seek other avenues to provide cost effective alternatives for operations.
MLS staff have occupied a portion of the space (about 4,000 square feet) for nearly three years. There is a large amount (about 6,000 square feet) of surplus space which has a cost and requires maintenance and utility services. The Whately facility and its contents acquired prior to July 1, 2010 are owned by the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System (WMRLS). MLS has been covering all of the costs to maintain the facility since 2010.
* Note: the Executive Board of the WRMLS is also the Executive Board of MLS.