Open discussion thread: Ask questions, share opinions

by beth on February 25, 2021

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Above: Take advantage of winter recreation opportunities on town trails before the snow disappears! (photo by Brian Butterfield, courtesy of Southborough Trails Committee which awarded it 1st place in their winter contest. You can see a larger version on Facebook)

It’s time for another open thread. What’s on your mind this week, Southborough?

For those of you new to the blog, the open discussion thread is your place to ask questions, sound off on town issues, or share information with other readers. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Ask questions about programs in town or the town itself
  • Post a note about things that you’re selling or giving away, or things that you want
  • Share notices about upcoming events (Southborough or otherwise)
  • Register your thoughts on town issues or news stories
  • Point out interesting or helpful resources

You can add comments to the thread throughout the week. Check back often to see new comments. (If you read the blog via email or RSS, you might want to check the site from time to time for new comments.)

To view past open discussion threads, click here.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Kendall February 25, 2021 at 4:05 PM

I’m wondering if the DPW has money in the next budget for street resurfacing. My entire neighborhood is crumbling. The patches that were done have already been torn up by plows.

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2 Michael Nordstrom February 26, 2021 at 9:43 AM

I’ve been wondering why the Southborough library is closed to enter in person but other local libraries are open. Has a plan been developed for why it is currently still closed and when it will open and under what conditions?

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3 beth February 26, 2021 at 4:11 PM

I contacted the Library for a statement. Library Director Ryan Donovan responded:

As of February 26, 2021, the Southborough Library building remains closed to the public. The library continues to offer a variety of services to residents, including curbside pickup, telephone reference, and electronic resource support. If you have any questions or concerns about the status of the library, please contact the library director Ryan Donovan directly at rdonovan@southboroughma.com.

Donovan gave the Board of Selectmen an update in early January. He gave a more detailed answer about their thinking in it. You can watch that here. (You can also watch the full presentation from the start here.)

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4 resident February 26, 2021 at 4:24 PM

So in other words, the useless Library Director skirted your question and isn’t going to answer to anyone. How much longer are we going to put up with his antics? He should probably remember that the taxpayers pay his salary. If other libraries are open ours should be too.

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5 Michael Nordstrom March 2, 2021 at 11:49 AM

In the Zoom call it seems like he is thinking about July for a reopening. Unfortunately, that only partially addresses my question.

Why isn’t the library opened now with COVID restrictions? Is it taking a more cautious approach than what is being recommended by MA? If so, why?

Why can’t the library open with COVID restrictions (e.g., mask wearing, limited capacity, etc.)?

Why do the models in towns like Hopkinton and Westborough not apply to Southborough?

My goal with these questions isn’t to be difficult. I just feel that there has been a lack of communication to the Southborough community on why Southborough is taking the approach that it is.

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6 Anne Jones March 2, 2021 at 3:22 PM

Resident—I’m one of those taxpayers who helps pay the Library Director’s salary. And unlike you, I’m glad the Director and staff are being cautious and not reopening the library yet. Covid is a serious illness, and I’m concerned that too many businesses and other types of facilities are being reopened too soon. Let’s wait until more people have been vaccinated and the number of daily cases goes way down.

Meanwhile, I suggest that you contact the library directly about any specific services that you need but can’t obtain via curbside pickup. And I suggest that you avoid words like “useless” and “antics” in dealing with people with whom you disagree. Let’s maintain a civil discourse.

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7 Betsy Rosenbloom March 3, 2021 at 12:21 PM

Well said, Anne, thank you for your comment calling for civility in public discourse. I cannot understand the point of using words like “useless” and “antics” to describe a building closure during a state of emergency/global pandemic. I would assume that since the Library is a Town-owned building, the decision to re-open must be made in consultation with other Town authorities (Board of Selectmen, Board of Health) and could not be made unilaterally by the Library Director or even the Library Board of Trustees. Residents are certainly entitled to ask questions about Town building closures but to single out the Library with accusations seems totally unwarranted to me.

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8 resident March 4, 2021 at 3:19 PM

My comment wasn’t about whether or not the library was open as much as how the library director skirted the question asked as he usually does. He was asked a pointed question and he could have answered it appropriately. I certainly understand the whole pandemic thing, I think we all do by now so you don’t need to lecture me about it.. I don’t have to worry, I don’t use the library because of the director. I go to another town, which is a shame that I have to do that. However, I would rather go to another town than put up with his “antics” and those being his attitude his being condecending, his acting like the world owes him a living. I pay for something I can’t access because I have to but I won’t go in there and be treated like I second class citizen by the likes of him. I am entitled to an opinion whether you like it or not. Especially when I am paying for the library too.

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9 beth March 4, 2021 at 4:58 PM

I’m sure you’ll object to the following as more lecturing, but…

You may feel you have a right to complain. But you can’t expect anyone to take complaints too seriously or act on them when they come in the form of anonymous gripes.

(That’s not just you, but many readers who choose to gripe about Town officials anonymously.)

If you feel that there is an issue with a Town employee’s behavior that you are unable to resolve directly with that employee, the appropriate step would be to speak with his/her superior. In this case it would be the Board of Library Trustees. Even if you weren’t willing to go before the whole board, you could try speaking to one member “off the record”, just to make that person aware of the issues as you perceive and ask for help resolving.

10 Resident and Taxpayer March 5, 2021 at 1:40 AM

Resident and Beth, with all due respect, I completely disagree with the silly spin below that one can’t express one’s opinion anonymously and not have that taken seriously: “you can’t expect anyone to take complaints too seriously or act on them when they come in the form of anonymous gripes. . .” Anonymous or not has nothing to do with it. What matters is the substance of the message.

And comments and complaints are not “gripes.” That is bullshit. Most people on this blog chose to do so anonymously and have legitimate and interesting things to point out. Anonymous puts the focus rightly on the substance of the message. And stunningly, people can agree and better things can come of it. As for Resident’s comments above, have to agree and say there are some common observations and shared opinions. And “antics” is a good way to describe behavior that appears to be unnecessarily overbearing and outright offensive at times. In any situation like this, sadly people tend to avoid and Resident is not alone in their opinion. Why not have the focus on improvement?

11 Framingham Friend March 5, 2021 at 3:38 PM

I am not using any unkind words regarding the director though I will agree that his behavior does encourage me to go to other libraries as well. That has nothing to do with covid or pandemic. I believe he has made the best of a bad situation with regard to that.

I use other libraries almost exclusively because I do feel welcomed in other town’s libraries.

12 Former Resident February 26, 2021 at 1:10 PM

The Westborough Library is open with excellent safety provisions in place. Maybe Southborough could contact them.

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13 Framingham Friend February 26, 2021 at 5:38 PM

Framingham libraries (both of them) are also still closed to patrons. Both of them are doing the same system that Southborough is doing and it is working quite well. Southborough is even a little better because they leave the book drop open. Framingham does not allow the book drop, instead you must go during open hours and leave returns in dated boxes. After a few days those boxes are emptied and returned.

Southborough library is a very old building and I can promise the ventilation system is not up to Covid standards. I think the library is doing all it can to serve the community during this unusual situation. They have implemented many new services to try to keep people engaged and allow patrons to get what they need from the library.

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14 Kelly Roney March 3, 2021 at 12:20 PM

There’s quite a lot of information about the Southborough Public Library and its services during the pandemic at https://www.southboroughlib.org. You can sign up for a weekly email if you choose.

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15 Margarite Landry March 3, 2021 at 7:18 PM

As Chair of the Board of Library Trustees, I would like to answer the very legitimate questions raised in some of these posts about when the Library will be able to open the building to patrons..

Please be aware that no decisions have been made about the status of the Library without discussions between the Selectmen, Town officers including the Fire and Police Chiefs, Library Trustees, the Board of Health, and the Library Director. Many options for opening the Library have been investigated and discussed but we have been unable to come to satisfactory arrangements considering necessary Covid restrictions and the ongoing construction.

The Hopkington and Westborough Libraries mentioned in these posts are open for very limited hours and days per week. Both have much more interior space than Southborough has, but still strictly limit the number of patrons allowed inside at a time.

We are hoping that, when the construction is complete, we will also be able to allow patrons with appointments to enter the Library for brief periods. Strict Covid protocols will be necessary (mask wearing and distance maintained) for the foreseeable future, but we will be happy to allow access to more of the Library’s offerings.

In the meantime, we will continue with our very popular curbside pickup program and our on-line offerings.

Please contact the Library with any questions or concerns you have. We appreciate your patience as we all continue to struggle with these new challenges.

Margarite Landry

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16 Elizabeth Robin Plumer March 4, 2021 at 7:22 PM

I volunteered at the Sboro Library prior to the pandemic, and experienced first hand how helpful Ryan, Kim, and the entire staff were toward patrons. That helpfulness has persisted through the pandemic. If I have a question, I call the library or contact them on chat. I have not encountered any problems obtaining library materials ordered online. If anyone has had issues in the past, I hope they will give the library a second chance. Curbside pickup is safe and other library options – e.g. Hoopla – also have been great ways to obtain all sorts of digital materials. Having digital assess is not ideal – but it works and I’m grateful for all these options.
Thank you, Sboro Library, for all that you do.

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17 southsider March 16, 2021 at 9:53 AM

I need to re-schedule my second Covid vaccine dose and am struggling with the website.
Anyone know what the process is to be sure i sign up only for the same brand of vaccine I got as Dose #1? The state has a call-in service but it seems to say it’s only for citizens who are 75 yrs old; and I’m not.

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18 beth March 16, 2021 at 10:32 AM

Closest info I could find is below. (If these are numbers you called, I’d ignore the 75+ warning and still try speaking with someone for help.):

If you cannot schedule your second dose at the same location as your first dose: Limited appointments are also available if you received your first dose at a site other than one of the mass vaccinations sites but are unable to receive your second dose at the same site. To learn more:

Access the Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line by calling 2-1-1.
Or call the CIC Health call center to inquire about scheduling a second dose appointment at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium or the Reggie Lewis Center: (888) 623-3830.

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19 southsider March 16, 2021 at 11:03 AM

thanks!

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