How does my vote on May 8 affect Library services in Douglas?

Douglas voters will be asked to vote on a tax override at the May 7 annual town meeting and on the May 8 election ballot. If the override passes, the Library and other town services will continue operating normally. If the override vote fails, the Simon Fairfield Public Library will be defunded on June 30, discontinuing all library services in our town. 


Stable library funding for 5+ years


Library closed by the 4th of July

Yes: The library will continue affecting the lives of its 2,494 active patrons and the 113 people who visit each day it is open, providing vitality to downtown Douglas.

No: The library building will close. There will be no visitors or patrons.

Yes: The Library's collections of books, videos, ebooks, and more will continue to grow and be freely accessible. 

No: Without curators or a catalog, the collection will become inert and begin to deteriorate.

Yes: Douglas taxpayers will continue to enjoy free and open access to the holdings of every certified public library in Massachusetts. 

No: Douglas taxpayers will not be able to borrow library materials from any neighboring libraries. 

Yes: The Library will continue to host approximately 275 programs for children, 50 programs for teens, and 34 programs for adults every year. These include book clubs, chess clubs, storytimes, LEGO clubs, summer reading programs, and more.

No: The community will lose its central hub of free community and civic engagement. Without access to the library's materials and programs, children will be more at risk of summer learning loss and will not have free access to required summer reading. 

Yes: Free computers, internet access, and access to vocational testing books & resources will continue to be available for those seeking their first, best, or next jobs. 

No: Job-seekers in the community will lose their easiest, closest access to resources that can lead to employment.

Yes: The Library will continue to provide free open space currently used by Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Historical Society, tutors, interviewers, test-takers, community classes, and more. 

No: All these groups will have to find alternative meeting spaces.

Yes: The Library's unique local history archives will continue to be curated, preserved, and made available for research.

No: Without proper curatorship, climate control, and preservation techniques, the archives will not be accessible and the documents within will degrade. 

Yes: Douglas will continue to benefit from the tangible resources the Library pumps directly into the hands of taxpayers every year. In 2017, that amounted to 20,172 books, 2,017 audiobooks, 4,221 ebooks, 1,506 magazines, 8,755 movies, 295 CDs, 196 museum passes, 126 local history reference sessions, 370 academic articles, and 2,802 guest internet sessions.  Over $509,000 of value provided on a $214,406 budget. 

No: Douglas taxpayers will have to pay for these resources on their own or disengage from literary pursuits.

The future of the Simon Fairfield Public Library will be decided at the May 7 town meeting and the May 8 election. If the prop 2.5 tax override passes, the Library, among other town services, will continue operating normally. If the override fails, however, the last day of Library funding will be June 30, 2018. Douglas will become the first and only town in Massachusetts with a population over 750 not to fund a public library, and close the books on an institution that has received municipal support for the past 130 years. 
If this happens, the trustees are currently committed to closing the Library by the 4th of July, preserving the funds which have been entrusted them for supporting a public library until such a time as there is again a public library to support. Re-opening the library after a closure, however, will require full compliance with the rules and regulations set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act and by the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board.  It will not be feasible to re-open in the current location without extensive building renovation. 
Currently Douglas residents enjoy access to libraries across the commonwealth by virtue of being certified in the State Aid to Public Libraries program by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Certification is contingent on meeting certain service requirements, however, as well as a certain municipal appropriation requirement. It goes without saying that a municipality that does not provide library services is ineligible to apply. 
It therefore needs to be stated plainly: if the override fails, Douglas residents will be cut off from borrowing items from any library in the commonwealth except for the Boston Public Library, which serves all state residents as the Library of the Commonwealth. All people living in the 01516 ZIP code will have non-certified cards, no matter which library or systems they try to use in Massachusetts. Since they are not contributing to shared network resources by funding their own local library, they will not be entitled to borrow materials or use the services of any other library with the exception of reading their books on-site. 
If the library closes, the columns above outline what values and services will be lost. These services, while not taken advantage of by all, are a structural part of the community which benefit children, adults, and the elderly alike regardless of socioeconomic status. It is up to you to decide if these services are worth the cost, but be informed that losing them will come with its own costs.