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Residency Requirement Approved By Prendergast Board

The James Prendergast Library Board of Trustees has a new residency requirement.

Earlier this month during the board’s monthly meeting, the residency requirement was approved 11-1 with Michael Corey, board treasurer, being the only “no” vote.

Annie Green, library executive director, said the new residency requirement bylaw states that two-thirds of its members should be residents in the Jamestown Public School District, and if the number of board members is not divisible by three, than more than two-thirds of its members should live in the district.

The by-law also states that the board’s Governance Committee shall review the two-thirds residential requirement when replacing or filling a board vacancy to ensure the requirement is in compliance.

During September, the board first discussed the possibility of a residency requirement during a work session and regular meetings. The discussion on the residency requirement during the online workshop included some members of the board being worried about limiting the “talent pool” for potential board members, of which at times it has been difficult to find people to volunteer for the position.

Mary Zdrojewski, library trustee, said she thought a residency requirement would be good idea because the Jamestown community should be in charge of how the library is operated.

“I think the community should have a majority voice,” she said.

Dan Hickman, library trustee, suggested that perhaps the number of Jamestown residents on the board should correspond to the percentage of the tax levy city residents pay toward the library’s annual budget, which in 2020 is 42%. In June, voters in the Jamestown Public Schools District approved a $350,000 annual tax levy to fund the library’s operations.

Currently, two-thirds of the board’s members — there are 12, but there can be as many as 15 — reside in the Jamestown Public School District.

In other business, Greene said the board approved expanding the library’s hours, now opening Monday through Friday at 8:15 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. She said library staff had notice school students sitting outside of the library prior to opening using the facility’s free Wi-Fi internet.

“This was when it was warmer, but now that it’s getting colder, we wanted to open the doors to them,” she said.

The new hours will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 8:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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