Liverpool After months of negotiations, the Liverpool Public Library board of trustees and Friends group were unable to come up with a memorandum of understanding that would formalize the relationship between the two entities.
As a result, the Friends group will hold a vote on its own dissolution at its Jan. 14 meeting.
“I’m very sad,” said Pam Sprague, president of the Friends board. “It’s not like we didn’t try. It’s the way it worked out.”
She emphasized that the inability to reach an agreement had nothing to do with any kind of personality conflict.
“I’ve heard things in the community, just people filling in the blanks, but the truth is, there are no blanks to fill in,” Sprague said. “It’s very cut and dried. They wanted us to agree to something that we in our hearts could not agree to. It’s not because of a personality conflict, definitely not. It’s a flat-out difference of opinion.”
"We have always been willing to compromise and be creative to find solutions for the benefit of both organizations,” said Mark Spadafore, president of the board of trustees. “As the library Board of Trustees, we have to move forward for the benefit of the library and the community at large. It is up to the Friends' board to decide how they will move forward. We are willing to work with the Friends if they want to be a partner organization."
But Sprague said the library’s decision left the Friends little choice.
“Our mission, our sole purpose, is to raise awareness about the Liverpool Public Library,” she said. “Now we can’t do that. They won’t let us. We can’t raise money for them. So we don’t feel we have much of a choice.”
The Friends group is a nonprofit organization staffed by volunteers dedicated to supporting the library. Sprague said it has a number of duties, ranging from running the used book sale to funding the Arts Al!ve series to replacing appliances in the library’s staff room.