Essex Town Council is embarking on a highly-concerning new plan to extend library hours without any staff present at the McGregor branch.

The so-called ‘staffless’ libraries compromise quality, safety and accessibility for members of the community. Library workers are essential to community-building by delivering programs and serving diverse patrons. They perform a range of skilled jobs such as conducting research and organizing library resources, to teaching patrons how to access technology and mediating library environments to keep community members safe.

The town council’s plan appears to be designed to save costs at the expense of diminishing the quality of a vital public service.

Send a message using the form on this page to the Essex County Town Council and Library Board: no to staffless libraries! 

Dear Mayor and council,

I am urging you to cancel plans to extend hours at the McGregor Branch Library without library staff during those hours.

I support extended library hours, particularly in rural communities, but we need our libraries to be staffed.

Libraries are community hubs that thrive due to human connections, the loss of which devalues the service and creates inequities. Patrons rely on librarians and library staff to help them with researching, writing, and job searching especially when they are unfamiliar with newer technology or cannot access library resources on their own due to disabilities.

With libraries closed through most of the pandemic, patrons have been unable to access the valuable resources through dedicated and trained staff.  Staffless libraries will continue the type of isolation many have felt during COVID-19.

The absence of staff risks also risks alienating patrons at greater risk of harm. We are concerned that lack of staff supervision may enhance the risk of violence and harassment to children, women and minorities, and create barriers to access.

The message that you are conveying with this plan is that the rural communities do not deserve to have more staff to attend to their needs. I do not support this vision of our library system in Essex County.


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