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Administrator recommends closing Derry's Taylor Library

Union Leader Correspondent

April 02. 2013 10:31PM

DERRY - The proposed town administrator's municipal budget for fiscal year 2014 includes a plan to close the Taylor Library in East Derry.

The move is already raising questions among a number of East Derry residents.

The total budget for the Taylor Library in the revised fiscal year 2013 budget is $171,303. The overall budget for the Derry Public Library in downtown Derry for the current fiscal year is $1,150,914, while the proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 is $1,273,869.

"This budget eliminates funding for the Taylor Library," said Town Administrator John Anderson. "I believe the Derry Public Library is better positioned and able to provide the services desired by our citizens today and in the future."

The public forum at Tuesday night's Town Council meeting had a wide mix of residents young and old speaking up about the positive role the library has played in their lives and the community.

"I've been a user of the Taylor Library since 1963 and now three generations of my family are users of the Taylor Library," said Marjorie Palmer.

She said the library has operated continuously for 135 years. "We need to preserve the history entrusted to our care."

The library has five part-time and two full-time employees.

Former town councilor Paul Needham said his daughter began going to the Taylor Library almost from the day she was born.

"Her first interaction with the community was at the Taylor Library," said Needham.

Taylor Library Director Linda Merrill said she was blindsided when she found out the Taylor Library budget was zeroed out in the town administrator budget.

"How sad it would be to no longer have the little library on the hill," said Merrill.

Fifteen-year-old Eagle Scout candidate Adam Burke said his Eagle Scout project was installing storage and shelving units for the Taylor Library.

"I wanted to give back to the library that has helped me my whole life," said Burke. "We need to preserve that."

Another young East Derry resident, Elizabeth Garcia, also said that she does not want to see the Taylor Library close.

"It is a quiet and peaceful place to read and do my homework," she said.

Councilor Mark Osborne said the closing of the Taylor Library is recommended in the town administrator's budget, but has yet to be approved or even discussed by the council as a whole.

"We on the board have just learned about the budget proposals in the last few years," said Osborne. "We fully intend to diligently pursue all avenues, but no decisions have been made."

Councilor Brad Benson said he was not sure how much support closing the Taylor Library would have among council members. He said when he was the chairman of the council, he had a discussion with Anderson stating that the closing of the Taylor Library would likely not garner the support of the council.

"I grew up at the Taylor Library," he said. "I'm sure the council will do what is right for the taxpayers and the Taylor Library."

Anderson said the budget workshop with the Taylor Library trustees is scheduled for April 30, and the public hearing on the municipal budget as a whole is scheduled for May 2.

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