Westminster library to keep genealogy material Compromise depends on volunteers

January 14, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Genealogical materials will be moved to a new area of the Westminster library, where volunteers, instead of employees, will assist family researchers.

The county's library board unanimously approved last night an ad hoc committee's plan to retain the genealogical collection in a separate area, instead of having the volumes removed from the library as initially proposed.

The library's administration had proposed eliminating a staff position in the genealogical program and moving the collection from the Westminster branch's Davis Room to cut $10,653 from the fiscal 1993 budget. The cut was part of a $118,755 cost-trimming plan.

Members of the Carroll County Genealogical Society and other family researchers opposed the move, saying the public would be better served by keeping the collection in the library. The collection is jointly owned by the society and the library.

The board appointed the committee last month to resolve the matter.

As part of the committee's proposal, genealogical materials for specialized study will be separated from local history and basic genealogical materials. The latter materials will remain in the Davis Room.

"I think we have a good compromise," said library director Martha Makosky.

The plan also calls for:

* The library to produce a self-help guide showing the location of materials in the genealogical and history collection.

* Signs to be posted stating the library does not do specific family history research but will refer questions to experienced genealogical researchers, provided by the society.

* Library staff to tell patrons only where to find the specialized genealogy materials. Genealogical volunteers will be asked to work in other parts of the library as well as with the genealogical collection.

Since the committee proposed the plan, society members have inventoried the collection. Volunteers said they would help enter the titles into computers as well.

Board member Eugenia Gartrell, who also served on the committee, said the panel will meet again if any problems arise.

Genealogical society members and others interested in family research praised the library board and administration for working. Allowing the materials to remain available to the public was important, they said.

Also last night, the library board unanimously approved a $4.4 million budget for fiscal 1994 that calls for no additional spending in salaries, books or materials.

However, the budget does ask for an additional $220,000 from the county commissioners, to cover Social Security payments for library staff and for the operation of the Mount Airy branch, which opened earlier this month.

Holding the line on spending next year and cutting from the current budget stemmed from the state's withdrawal of Social Security payments for teachers, librarians and community college employees.

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