Bedford Free Public Library Trustees ~ Short Takes: Fine-Free Policy Continues


When Chair Michael Pulizzi called for Public Comment at the opening of the Library Trustees’ meeting on June 14,  Doris Smith, long-time Bedford elementary school librarian now retired, responded to speak about her growing concern over the banned book effort that seems to be spreading across this country. She cited a recent article in the New York Times which said the American Library Association reported an unprecedented number of book challenges this year. In that vein, Smith said she would like to add a question – “Are you a resident of Bedford”- to the Reconsideration of Library Materials form which can be filled out at the Library. She would not like to think that someone from outside Bedford could come in and challenge book selection.

Library Director Callaghan explained that because Smith’s request was not on the agenda it could not be discussed at the meeting but would be added to the agenda for the July meeting.  He commented that the question of the challenge to intellectual freedom is on the minds of all library directors; he will be attending a special seminar on this topic at the upcoming American Library Association meeting in Washington, DC  later this month.

At their June meeting, the Trustees reaffirmed the Library materials selection policy, adopted some years ago, which is reviewed regularly. The policy can be found on the Library website:

In his Director’s report, Callaghan said the Bedford flag has been very busy recently. This week some 50 eighth-graders and their teachers from California are coming to visit the flag – a visit postponed for nearly two years because of Covid. The students are visiting historic sites and were eager to see the flag. And the flag was also a stop on the recent Cultural Council tour.

Other items of interest:

  • The Trustees moved to continue the policy of not charging fines for overdue library materials. This is becoming a widespread practice in area libraries.
  • Free printing in the computer area will continue but the Library will rewrite signage to encourage patrons to “print responsibly” in order to continue this policy. It will be reviewed at the end of the year.
  • The Library will host a student intern this summer. Kate Likhite is a rising senior with a major in Comparative Literature who is fluent in French. After graduation she plans to apply to library school. Likhite received a Middlebury College grant for a summer internship so her 24 hours per week will be free to the town.
  • Two long-time Library assistants are retiring at the end of June. Deb Cullen, Technical Services, started work in 2000;  Karen Kachelmyer who worked at the Circulation Desk and Technical Services has been with the BFPL since 1995.

* Reconsideration of Library Materials ~ The Library will review decisions regarding specific materials upon written request. A form for this purpose is available at any public service desk.

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