Mashpee Library Trustee Meeting Notes: Chairman Patricia Gamache Steps Down

After serving on the Mashpee Public Library Board of Trustees for the past five years, chairman Patricia A. Gamache decided it was time for a change.

“I got a job, at age 70,” she said during a phone interview on Wednesday night, August 13. Although she enjoyed her work with the trustees, Ms. Gamache said, it is time for her to move on—so she will be working part-time at one of her favorite stores, Roberto Coin Boutique in Mashpee Commons, traveling, and hopefully spending more time with family.

The board formally accepted her resignation at its meeting on Tuesday, August 12, and approved trustee Carlo D’Este as the new chairman and Chip Bishop as the new vice chairman. An acquaintance of Mr. D’Este’s, Hugh D. Ahearn, was nominated to fill the vacancy.

Mr. Ahearn, a resident of Mashpee for more than 20 years and father of four, previously worked for a company that serves the school library industry and has been an executive board member of the Massachusetts School Library Association since 1995, serving on its conference committee and even testifying on behalf of libraries at the Massachusetts State House.

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“I have a vested interest in schools and in libraries,” he said.

The board voted unanimously to submit the nomination to the board of selectmen for approval.

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Trustee Kate E. Milde, a liaison to the Friends of the Mashpee Public Library, informed the board that the Friends are looking for recommendations for a one-time donation.

After brainstorming ideas, library director Kathleen M. Mahoney raised the possibility of using some existing shelves to create a “genius bar” with iPads.

“If we had a bunch of iPads there, what would be the advantage of having them?” Mr. Bishop said.

Patrons could use apps on the iPads for different activities, library director Kathleen M. Mahoney said, and the library could even host workshops to teach residents how to use them.

She noted that students in the Mashpee Public Schools will also be using iPads, too, as part of a one-to-one technology initiative beginning this school year.

“They aren’t going to be able to take the iPads home, so they could use them here,” Ms. Mahoney said.

The trustees agreed that they would recommend to the Friends a purchase of at least 10 iPads, after researching the type of iPads and programs that would be compatible with the schools.

“I think we’re on the right track here,” Mr. Bishop said.

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DVD thefts from the library have ceased in recent weeks, but the board came to the consensus that it will follow Mashpee Police Chief Rodney C. Collins’s advice to allow the installation of two more cameras and signs indicating that the area is monitored.

Trustee Mary LeClair said that she was surprised to learn that the thefts had stopped so suddenly, and other trustees said that publicity of the issue may have helped.

“People say that thefts come in waves...they say that it’s thieves who go from library to library,” Ms. Mahoney said, adding that she hopes the cameras and signs will act as deterrents.

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After consulting with town counsel, Ms. Mahoney said that there was no issue with allowing either of the town political parties to meet in the building. Questions had arisen in recent meetings over the definition of “political activity,” which is prohibited by the library’s policy in the building.

According to Ms. Mahoney, events such as informational meetings, candidate forums and debates, and even petitioning in a designated place are allowed, but rallying or promoting a particular candidate were forbidden by the policy.

Due to the board’s decision to follow the newly expanded public building use policy, the political parties, along with any other building use applicant, would be required to pay a fee for after-hours room use. During regular hours, however, the rooms would be free for all nonprofit organizations.

The library plans to follow the town’s guidelines and charge $12.50 per hour for use of the conference room and $25 per hour for the larger event room, with an additional $12.50 per hour fee for the use of a building monitor in either room. But a two-hour minimum is required for the monitor, Ms. Mahoney said, so the fees will have to be doubled.

The board plans to send a letter to the town political parties outlining their decision.

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