Open Letter to Our Warren County Community

Thursday, October 5th, 2023

This week the Samuels Library Board of Trustees and the Warren County Board of Supervisors were able to reach a consensus to finalize a Library Funding Agreement that secures county funding for the library for the foreseeable future.

This is truly exciting news as reaching this agreement ensures the library remains in operation and continues to serve the needs of all Warren County residents. Although there were many issues and details to be sorted out, both Boards were committed to collaborating to find a resolution that every resident should be able to live with.

First and foremost, this agreement would not exist if not for the support of our Trustees, staff, patrons, and advocates. The Trustees had full confidence in the Library’s mission and the organization’s proven standards of excellence. They were united in their determination to protect its long and storied history. We are fortunate to have a core group of committed and experienced staff members who, despite the daily stress, were able to smile and continue serving our patrons. They were heroically patient and trusted that library leadership would bring about a positive outcome and we are all grateful to them.

To those of you who volunteered time, submitted a letter or donation, or just passed along a kind word – we cannot begin to express how much those small gestures reinforced the library’s resolve to continue to fight for what is right. Your donations will help alleviate the large expenses incurred for legal and professional services needed to guide us through the challenge. As we reflect on the time and money spent over the past 8 months, we estimate this ordeal cost the Library over $100,000, not to mention the loss of staff. Time and money that would have been better spent on advancing services and programs.

The Friends of Samuels Library nonprofit group was instrumental in communicating the concerns of the majority of the library’s stakeholders and, along with other friends and grassroots organizations, expressed the community’s commitment to maintaining the diversity in our literature and book collection, ultimately moving the needle forward on the Agreement.

Finally, we’d like to thank every member of the Board of Supervisors. It’s often difficult to please everyone but reaching this agreement exemplifies your dedication to the County and its residents. As a group, we were able to put party and political affiliations aside to reach a consensus that served the best interests of the entire community, and that should always be the priority.

The library’s mission of bringing people, information, and ideas together to enrich lives and build our community has never wavered. We are gratified that by working together with the community and the Board of Supervisors we will be able to continue serving the citizens of Warren County for years to come.
Eileen Grady
Interim Library Director
Melody Hotek
Samuels Public Library Board of Trustees