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Brooks Memorial Library to restore hours cut in 2010

Trustees say Ronald Read bequest makes longer hours possible

BRATTLEBORO—Brooks Memorial Library will keep its doors open longer two days a week starting in September.

Thanks to the unexpected $2 million bequest from Brattleboro resident, the late Ronald Read, the library will extend its hours of operation.

Starting Sept. 12, the library will remain open into Saturday afternoon and beginning Sept. 17, doors will open Thursday mornings.

“It was such good news, I brought a party,” joked Library Director Jerry Carbone when he and members of the Library Trustees appeared before the Selectboard, Aug. 4.

Read passed away last year. Earlier this year, the library learned that the unknown millionaire and savvy investor left the century-old library a sizable bequest.

In February, Carbone said that Read’s gift was probably the largest Brooks had received since George J. Brooks funded the library in 1886.

Budget cuts forced Brooks Library to cut its hours in 2010, explained Carbone. Community members, however, continually ask for the library to keep its doors open longer.

Brooks Memorial Library has an endowment, but stipulations of the trust forbid the use of funds for staff salaries.

Carbone explained that, thanks to the Read bequest, the library can shuffle money from one budget line item to another to make the additional hours possible.

The bulk of the Read gift has been invested, he said.

The Trustees authorized expending up to 4 percent of the investments’ earnings, which is more than the $16,000 it will cost to extend hours.

In a memo to the Selectboard, Board of Trustees President Pamela Becker explained that “We will allocate $16,000 from the endowment for the purchase of books and request that the current budget line item of $16,000 for books be transferred to the salaries line item.”

Carbone assured the board that all the shuffling won’t impact any part of the library’s budget paid by taxpayers.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #318 (Wednesday, August 12, 2015). This story appeared on page A3.

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