Library urged to keep genealogical services Local group opposes cost-cutting plan

December 15, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Family researchers and local historians are pressuring Carroll County library officials to continue funding the genealogical services at the system's Westminster branch.

As part of a measure to cut $101,000 from the library system's $4.2 million budget, the library administration has recommended eliminating the public use of personal computers and services in the Genealogy Program.

The cuts are reportedly necessary to compensate for the state's withdrawal of Social Security payments for teachers, librarians and community college employees.

Martha Makosky, library director, met with members of the Carroll County Genealogical Society and other users of the program yesterday.

She declined to discuss further the administration's recommendations.

The library's board of trustees will consider the cost-cutting plan at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at library headquarters, 115 Airport Drive, Westminster.

The library administration "will ask the board of trustees to recognize that the current level of services can no longer be afforded," said Ann Wisner, a public information specialist.

The library has already reduced money earmarked for equipment, furniture, library supplies and building supplies from its budget in recent years.

The 240-member county genealogical organization opposes any cuts in the Genealogical Program, housed in the library's Davis Room, said Janet Colburn, an adult services specialist and society member.

Group members plan to attend the board meeting to voice their concerns, said Ms. Colburn, who supervises and trains volunteers to help researchers using the genealogical collection.

"Eliminating the service will deprive people of that service in an accessible place," she said.

The genealogical collection has been housed at the library for about 12 years, she said.

Some 1,200 people either visited the room or wrote letters asking for research assistance last year, she said.

Ms. Colburn, who would be reassigned under the cost-cutting plan, said it was unlikely that volunteers would continue to staff the room because of the "library's commitment to quality service."

She said it takes time to train volunteers properly.

Karen Dattilio, who uses the Davis Room to research the history of her family and county cemeteries, also has protested the cuts.

"There are years and years worth of research in that room," said the Westminster resident. "There are a number of researchers out there who use the room. School children use the room, too.

"I find it very unfair," she said, suggesting the administration consider making cuts to other programs.

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