EAST FOREST PARK, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Three neighborhoods get their libraries back. Two of them, East Forest Park and Pine Point, reopened Monday. Liberty opens Tuesday. The three branches were closed due to budget cuts during the summer. People of all ages in East forest park are happy to have their library to go to again.
“I get my movies and my reading material and it’s just having a library for a neighborhood, it’s good for a neighborhood,” said Kathleen Murphy.
“My first story time ever was here when I was two,” said Zadia Valenze.
Zadia felt so strongly about her library that she was one of the people who spoke before the city council. They listened.
In late July, the city council passed a $15 increase in the trash fee from $75 to $90. Five dollars of the increase was earmarked to keep the three branches operating.
“I’m glad the city councilors made the decision to reopen the library,” said Valenze.
The money generated by the trash fee, however, was only a short term fix. It’s only going to keep the branches open for ten months. At that point, the city is going to be faced with the question again of how to fund the branches.
“I hope the mayor keeps his hands off our library,” said Murphy. “There is waste in the city and libraries ought not be one of them. They are not one of the wastes. He needs to look elsewhere.”
Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams says he’ll fight for long-term funding for the branches in the next budget.
“We have to establish the core services, pick up the trash, public safety, put firemen on the street, put police on the street and keep the libraries open,” said Williams. “Let’s not play games with people. These are emotional hijackings.”
Williams is also hoping the East Forest Park branch can negotiate a lower lease with RiteAid which owns the building it’s in.
Hours of operation for the branches are as follows:
East Forest Park: Monday 1:00-5:00 p.m., Wednesday 1:00-8:00 p.m., and Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pine Point: Monday 1:00-5:00 p.m., Wednesday 1:00-8:00 p.m., and Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Liberty: Tuesday 1:00-8:00 p.m., Thursday 10:00-5:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.