To the Editor:
We were shocked and disheartened to read in the Friday, December 7 issue of The Caledonian-Record the front-page article headlined: Library Layoffs. It is incomprehensible to us that all 11 of the Athenaeum's library-based employees have been laid-off. These individuals have provided extraordinary services to the community. Their length of tenure, their knowledge of the collection and the institution's operating procedures, along with the many services provided by the Athenaeum have been exemplary. In many instances their tenure has provided them with an education regarding the history of the institution, its relationship to the community and an incredible fund of knowledge regarding minutia in relation to resources within the collection. In addition they have organized a vast array of lectures, concerts and cultural opportunities for members of the community to enjoy.
From our perspective these individuals are not mere employees. They are an integral part of the institution we know and love. Part of our joy in visiting the Athenaeum is to be greeted and assisted by its staff.
We wish to express our gratitude to the library staff of the Athenaeum for their committee to the institution and for the outstanding services they have provided.
Considering Horace Fairbanks' kind heart and generous spirit we can only speculate what his reaction might be to this decision!
Paul and Bernadette Chouinard