Editor:

This is in response to the article in the July 26 edition of the Observer regarding the disagreement between the City of Rio Rancho and the Friends of the Library.

It is not true that the Friends have refused to help the library and the city during this pandemic. We were never asked to help with the budget shortfall.

Yes, we do currently have $70,000 in savings that we have carefully earned over a 15-year period by doing back-breaking work setting up monthly book sales, sorting approximately 2,000 donations each month and operating two book stores.

However, we have also given the library around $32,000 each year for programs, provided scholarships for librarians to complete their degrees, provided staff-appreciation luncheons and provided funds for the library floats for the holiday parade, just to name a few benefits the library has received from the Friends. We’ve also had to dip into our savings to purchase over $12,000 of equipment, plus we have monthly expenses.

The library receives no funds from the city, county or state for programs. All program money comes from the Friends.

Citizens, if this relationship is dissolved, programs at your local libraries will be greatly diminished.

The more egregious issue here is that in 2018, the Friends entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city, contract No. 19-LB-022, and the city is now breaching that contract. The last paragraph of the MOU states: “This agreement shall remain in effect unless and until it is modified in writing by mutual agreement of the Friends’ executive board and the city.”

The city claims they ended the contract on July 17. Per this MOU, that is not possible.

The city has never requested a modification. They just arbitrarily said it was ended.

Another part of the agreement that has been breached by the city is claiming that the book donations received belong to the city. Per the MOU (and historically) the book donations belong to the Friends.

Despite repeated attempts by the Friends to give the facts and figures to the city about our volunteer hours (which equals about seven full-time staff people) and the true monetary contributions to the library, the city government has chosen to believe alternative facts.

Citizens and other nonprofits operating in the City of Rio Rancho, beware. The city doesn’t care about good works; they just want your money.

Altruism is dead in Rio Rancho.

Diane Taylor

Board member of the Friends of the Library

 

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