Dear Massachusetts Library System Members,

I am writing with an update on the sale of the Whately facility and a related decision-making process about the future of the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System.

We are finalizing a purchase and sale agreement to sell the Whately facility to a local businessman. The agreement provides MLS with an 18-month leaseback provision. This gives MLS sufficient time to find a suitable rental property to house staff and training facilities in Western Massachusetts. The Attorney General has reviewed our request to sell the property and has no objection to the sale.

We have requested that the USDA (our mortgager) release WMRLS from its debt obligation in a short sale. The USDA seems prepared to forgive the debt to accommodate our request. Such a short sale will provide MLS with the opportunity to operate more efficiently in an appropriately sized office. We recently learned that USDA’s opinion was based on the assumption that WMRLS would be dissolved after the sale. It seems incongruous to USDA that a corporation that is to be granted significant financial relief could later emerge as a viable entity. And it cannot be ruled out that if WMRLS is able to acquire significant assets, that USDA might seek to recover lost funds.

The WMRLS Executive Board had not previously made any decisions about the future disposition of the corporation. The Board has been totally focused on making the Whately facility cost effective; first on leasing surplus space, then on selling the building and finding suitable rental space.

The WMRLS Executive Board will meet at 1:00 PM on June 16, 2014 to discuss this issue and decide on its next steps.Our preference would be to have this discussion without any time constraints. We are disappointed that we need to discuss dissolving the corporation after the sale of the building in order to accommodate USDA’s expectations. We understand that when the regional consolidation took place, that many librarians in Western Massachusetts hoped for a possible reinstatement of WMRLS and the MLS planning group thought the additional not-for-profit corporation might be useful. Unfortunately, USDA’s needs may supersede our desire to move slowly on this decision.

The WMRLS Executive Board meeting will be held with attendees at both MLS offices (Marlborough and Whately) with a video and sound feed to allow for the widest possible participation. The Executive Board of WMRLS is comprised of the same members as the MLS Executive Board. The MLS Executive Board will meet immediately following the WMRLS meeting.

We invite public comment and attendance at this meeting in Marlborough or Whately.

Please RSVP by email to Catherine@masslibsystem.org if you plan to attend.

Please address written comments and/or questions to Greg@masslibsystem.org.

Sincerely,

Greg Pronevitz,

Executive Director