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E. Brookfield to Spencer: No books for you; Library can't handle 2 towns.

Byline: Kim Ring

EAST BROOKFIELD - If Spencer residents defeat a request for a Proposition 2-1/2 override today, they won't be able to use the East Brookfield Public Library.

Library trustees in East Brookfield voted unanimously last night to cut off services to Spencer residents if the override fails and the library in that town is closed.

In a statement released last night, the trustees said, "The East Brookfield Board of Trustees has voted in accordance with the state minimum service standards to close our limited collection to all Spencer residents."

Trustees said they made the decision with regret, but the small library there could not meet the needs of an influx of residents from another town where voters had chosen not to fund their own library.

News of the vote came as no surprise to Spencer Library Director Mary Baker-Wood, though she's hoping East Brookfield won't have to act on the vote and that the override will pass.

"I think you are going to find this will be the response from other communities (if the override fails)," she said. "It certainly was with my library board when the Barre library closed."

While the two towns are partners, both members of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District, Ms. Baker-Wood said Spencer would probably shut out East Brookfield residents if the shoe was on the other foot because library resources would be taxed.

But because the district's high school lacks a library, she worries about where students will go if they cannot use libraries in area towns. She expects parents will have to begin buying books for their children.

Should the override fail, the Richard Sugden Library will close its doors Saturday.

In Spencer polls are open from noon to 8 p.m. today at Spencer Memorial Town Hall on Main Street for the annual town election.

Voters will choose two new selectmen from a pool of five candidates: Donald R. Berthiaume Jr. of 140 Charlton Road, Ralph A. DiChiara of 12 Shore Drive, Seth W. Fancher of 33 Lake Ave., Jennifer A. Gaucher of 10 Gauthier Road, and Sarah A. MacDougall of 9 School St.

The Proposition 2 1/2 override of $528,371 would fund the salary of a police officer, cost of operating the Richard Sugden Library, highway department costs and a community notification system.

The only other contest on the ballot is for a three-year term as the East Brookfield representative on the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District Committee. James Robert Casey of 842 Podunk Road and Peter M. Rock of 120 Doane Road, both in East Brookfield, are seeking that seat.

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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 13, 2008
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