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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Voices / Letters from readers

Former librarian saddened by RFPL conflicts, supports efforts of her former colleagues

It is with disbelief and great sadness that I’ve followed the unfolding of the Rockingham Free Public Library’s current saga.

As a former librarian at this wonderful library, my experience there was one of great camaraderie, collaboration, and mutual respect. My former colleagues (all of whom are currently still there) worked together as a team, fully supporting our director, Célina Houlné, the most hard-working, dedicated, and honest boss one could wish for. We were committed to our jobs, our workplace, the library’s mission, our terrific patrons, our many supporters, and the larger community.

Coverage over the last few months has created confusion, most likely a reflection of shifting issues and obfuscation of facts. It seems impossible and unnecessary that a difficult situation — including an ever-challenging renovation fraught with roadblocks — becomes worse with every news report, but the current situation speaks for itself.

The Rockingham Library — a community institution that is traditionally a place of respectful discourse and a refuge from partisanship — has become a source of conflict and controversy.

Clearly, this is not what the Board of Trustees was elected to do.

The results of poor conduct, bad manners, and questionable motives are rippling throughout the community. Heartbreaking it is.

There might still be time, but only if the board has the courage to take a long, hard look at the damage that has been done and find creative ways for the library to begin serving its mission again as quickly as possible.

Wendy O'Connell

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Originally published in The Commons issue #208 (Wednesday, June 19, 2013).

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