The Hubbard Free Library Community Forum held on April 30, 2018 in the City Hall auditorium was smashing success.
The most important take-away, the City Council will discuss the Hubbard’s request for a larger annual contribution at its meeting on June 11, at 6.30 at City Hall. A larger city contribution is an important element in the future of the Hubbard continuing to be part of the Hallowell community. We need you to support the Hubbard by writing, calling, or emailing your city councilor, and by attending the hearing in support. The names and email addresses for all members of the City Council can be found by clicking here.
More than 60 people and all ten Hubbard Trustees participated and discussed:
1. What the Hubbard means to them presently and how they would like to see the Hubbard evolve going forward, and
2. How the Hubbard can be best supported financially by the community as it evolves and adapts to changes in the “demand” for services.
Overwhelmingly, the participants are strong supporters of the Hubbard. Speakers described it as a place of quietude and refuge; a place to get information; to relax; to meet other people; to read; to learn new things, to be exposed to new people and ideas; it is a community meeting space and virtual crossroads; an architectural wonder, a convener and facilitator of artistic and cultural endeavors, The Hubbard is a vital cultural asset and critical element of community infrastructure that contributes in significant and important ways to Hallowell’s reputation as a special and desirable place to live, work and raise a family. And the list went on.
In the future people want more Hubbard; more books, programs, presentations and opportunities to come together to debate topics of common and divergent interest, and to get the latest bestseller.
Hearing of the parlous state of the Hubbard’s longer term finances, participants strongly supported more community participation in raising the money to keep Hubbard opening and serving the community and in additional support from the City of Hallowell.
Hubbard’s operation is supported by private contributions and event revenues, prudent spending from its $450,000 endowment, and an annual contribution from the City of Hallowell. Changes in the size of private contributions and in the way the endowment is managed means that the Hubbard will likely post a substantial operating deficit in FY 2019, July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. To fill the hole, the Hubbard will ramp up solicitation of private contributions, increase the number of fund raising events, offer more programs, and work to rebuild the endowment .
Additionally, the Hubbard has asked the City to substantially increase its contribution. The city Council will discuss the Hubbard’s request for a larger annual contribution at its meeting on June 11, at 6.30 at City Hall. This is the time to take action if you want the Hubbard to continue to be part of the Hallowell community.
If funding can be stabilized over the next two fiscal years with extra help from the City, the Hubbard will engage vigorously with the community in a process that will shape its future as the private library it has been since 1880; as some form of public-private partnership like the Gardiner Library or the Bailey Library in Winthrop, as a “public” library run by the municipality like Lithgow Library in Augusta, or some other arrangement. While closure at some point in the future is a possibility, the notion of there being no
Hubbard in Hallowell is clearly antithetical to the community.
To read the record of the comments made at the Community Forum and additional comments, please click here.
The Community Forum was the first of many steps in engaging the community in decisions about the future of its library. We hope you will stay involved as this process evolves. We welcome your interest and support, moral and financial. Comments, suggestions, criticisms are encouraged and welcome. Speak up so we know what you – the community – wants.
Thank you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do to keep the Hubbard’s red doors open.
Ken Young, President, on behalf of the Hubbard Board of Trustees