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Library Bequest-Funded Storyteller to Quit

Chuck Ashton, whose salary was funded by a bequest to the Library Board, terminated his contract this week.

Long-time retired librarian and story teller Chuck Ashton will perform his last storytime on June 10. The money from the $225,000 library bequest used to fund his salary will still be used to perform other community literacy programs, according to Redwood City spokesperson Malcolm Smith.

Using part of the $225,000 January library bequest to fund Ashton's salary has sparked action amongst some residents, who have formed the "Committee to Save Schaberg Library." Members say they would rather see the money used to extend 's hours rather than for programming, which could be done by eager volunteers.

"We urgently renew our request that the funds be used to fully restore hours at the Schaberg branch and to stock its shelves to the standard maintained at the other branches," wrote Redwood City resident Sharon Levin in her on Patch.

City officials that they do not want to spend these one-time funds for ongoing operations, such as extending Schaberg's hours.

“Consistent with our fiscal guidelines, grants, gifts or other one-time funds will not be used for ongoing operational costs,” Mayor Jeff Ira said in an email to concerned residents.

The Library Foundation still has discretion over the funds and will use it for the following programs:

  • increased story times
  • a card campaign for children
  • expanded family author programs for schools
  • an increase in the number of preschools for the Traveling Storytime program
  • other such community-wide Library literacy programs

“What [Ashton] provided was supplemental,” Smith said. “The remaining money will continue to be used for intended purposes.”

Stacie Chan May 27, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Hi all, Malcolm Smith from the city is getting back to me with line items on exactly what the bequest money was spent. Stay tuned!
TJ May 31, 2011 at 08:53 PM
You can support the funding of storytime but how many storytimes can you hope to have with very limited hours and the possibility of the branch closing altogether? No one disputes the value of storytimes or Mr. Ashton's expertise, we are disputing the exorbitant amount he is paid to do this, when, as Sharon pointed out, there are MANY volunteers willing to do it and have been doing so at other branches funded by fundraising efforts. Why is essentially "found" money being used in this manner when it would be more effectively used for operating costs for the next two years while we fundraise and raise awareness durng that time? Does this not make sense? Miss Carol, a paid librarian on-staff at Schaberg for many years did the storytimes very effectively and was very popular and I am quite sure she didn't need 4-5 hours to prepare for 30 minutes of actively reading the story and engaging the children. Please....
Sharon Levin May 31, 2011 at 09:19 PM
I'd like to add to this, that if one were to look at books being ordered - while most are ordered for Main and most especially Redwood Shores, very few are ordered for Schaberg. If you are worried about funding going to those who need it the most - look more closely at Shores (arguably the library in the wealthiest part of town). Schaberg doesn't even have a librarian on site anymore. Miss Carrol, whom Tanja mentions, was moved out to Shores.
Enquiring Mind June 23, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Bud, the original bequest was for $150,000 and was given to the library in 1997. The funds now total $225,000. You call that mis-managed? Schaberg's hours were cut because their usagee numbers were the lowest of the four libraries in the Redwood City Library System. Get a grip, Bud, check your facts before spewing your vitriol in the future.
Enquiring Mind June 23, 2011 at 04:12 AM
This was a bequest to the Redwood City Public Library. These were not and are not taxpayer funds. The funds are under the pervue of the Redwood City Library Foundation. Why should the City provide line items?

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