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Civics Sunday - Part VII: The Public Library Board of Trustees and the Park Commission

by The Publishers
March 31, 2019

Continuing our Civics Sunday series, we remind readers that of our intent to provide brief descriptions of local boards, elected positions, or committees so as to prepare voters for the next Local Election on May 21, 2019, as well as to remind Holliston of our Annual Town Meeting on May 6, 2019.

Continuing our Civics Sunday series, we remind readers that of our intent to provide brief descriptions of local boards, elected positions, or committees so as to prepare voters for the next Local Election on May 21, 2019, as well as to remind Holliston of our Annual Town Meeting on May 6, 2019.

This week’s column briefly describes two boards: Library Board of Trustees and the Park Commission.  The following are available positions of the 2019 Local Election:

            The Public Library Board of Trustees – 2 members

            The Park Commission – 2 members             

You may review previous Civics Sunday columns at any time by clicking on a link below:

Part I:  The Town Meeting

Part II:  The Town Moderator and Town Clerk

Part III: The Town Selectmen

Part IV:  The Finance Committee

Part V: The School Committee

Part VI: The Board of Assessors and the Board of Health

The Public Library Trustees

America’s first public library began in Franklin, Massachusetts, in 1778, when the town incorporated and changed its name from Exeter to Franklin to honor Dr. Benjamin Franklin.  Franklin was asked to donate a bell for the town’s steeple.  Instead, Franklin offered books for use by the town residents.  

When Franklin’s donation of books arrived, controversy arrived as well.  Who should be allowed to use these volumes?  At Franklin’s 1790 Town Meeting, people voted to lend the books to all Franklin residents free of charge, thus establishing the first public library in the United States.

Holliston’s Public Library is one of the Carnegie public libraries.  In 1903, Andrew Carnegie gave the town $10,000. to build the library, and it opened on July 5, 1904.  In 1963, it added a children’s room in the basement.  In 1987, a new addition provided an elevator, a meeting room, and handicapped access.

The General Laws of Massachusetts establish that Boards of Library Trustees will serve MA towns.  These Boards have the custody and management of the town’s library, reading room, and all related properties owned by the town.  

Holliston’s By-Laws detail the terms and responsibilities of its Library Board of Trustees, following the MGL.  Our Board consists of six members, each member elected for a three-year term, and only two members’ terms expire in any one year.  The Board chooses a chair and a secretary annually, and the Town Treasurer is the treasurer of the Board.

The Board of Trustees expends all monies raised and appropriated by the town for the Library.  Our Board may establish agreements with neighboring towns’ boards to improve its services or to pay for common services.  (Presently, Holliston’s Public Library is a part of a consortium, the Minuteman Library Network, comprised of 41 libraries with 60 locations that work collectively to provide service and value to the Metrowest region.)

The Board of Trustees is responsible for an Annual Report to the Town of its proceeds and expenses.  These members are responsible for book and other library material selection to meet the needs and interests of the people of Holliston, offering materials of a variety of opinions and expressions as practicable.  All books and materials offered must be inclusive, never proscribed or removed due to partisan or doctrine disapproval.

Remember to vote for two members to the Library Board of Trustees on May 21, during Holliston’s Local Election

The Park Commission

MA General Laws allow for the creation of a Board of Park Commissioners in each town.  In towns that have not elected a Park Commission, the Select Board may act in this capacity. 

Holliston By-Laws have established a five member Park Commission; each member elected for a term of three years and the term of no more than two terms expire in any one year.  This commission supervises and administers recreational programs conducted and facilities used by the town. 

The By-Laws contain sections of the Park Commission that pertain to citizens of Holliston and other park users.  These sections state that no one should:

·         Damage or destroy property that is under the jurisdiction of the Park Commission;

·         Break glass, throw stones or “missiles,” have or discharge a weapon, firearm, firework, torpedo, or explosive; 

·         Make a fire (except in areas designated by the Commission);

·          Paint or post a sign, notice, placard or other advertising;

·         Litter;

·         Bring in any garbage to dispose of in Park receptacles;

·         Refuse or neglect to obey any posted rules concerning the use of any area; or

·         Operate an internal combustion engine-run boat on Lake Winthrop unless given approval of the Park Commissioners. 

On May 21, we will elect two new members to the Park Commission for Holliston at our Local Election.   

Resources

https://www.townofholliston.us/sites/hollistonma/files/file/file/2017_by_laws_-_searchable_0.pdf

https://www.hollistonlibrary.org/staff.asp

https://franklinma.gov/franklin-public-library/pages/library-history

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXII/Chapter78/Section11

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleVII/Chapter45/Section2

http://www.necarnegies.com/maholliston.htm

 

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