Dear Massachusetts Library System Members,
The Executive Board met on March 17th to discuss interest by multiple parties in occupying the Whatley facility. We received an offer to purchase the facility from a local businessman that would allow MLS to remain in-place for up to 18 months to give us sufficient time to find a suitable office/training facility in Western Massachusetts. We also received letters of interest in creating a joint use facility from local communities (Deerfield, Sunderland, and Whately).
After meeting with town representatives and a thoughtful discussion about the pros and cons of accepting the offer to purchase and the towns’ interest, the Board voted to accept the offer to purchase from the local businessman. This decision will allow MLS to focus funding and efforts on services to libraries. MLS has occupied and covered the expenses for the facility, which is too large for our needs since July 2010. The expense and management of the surplus space is a burden.
When MLS was formed, we expressed our commitment to maintain an office and training facility in Western Massachusetts. Nevertheless, we planned to sell the facility to operate as efficiently as possible. However, there was a strong interest among librarians in Western Massachusetts to remain in the facility, which caused us to reconsider. We sought a tenant to make the facility cost effective. We did so for more than a year to no avail.
We then put the facility on the market for sale. An offer to purchase came quickly but it didn’t work out because the buyer could not sell his existing building, which was a contingency of his offer.
We put the facility back on the market last month. We were presented with a second offer very quickly. We also received letters of interest from local communities. We invited the town representatives to our Board meeting to discuss their plans. We learned that the towns would have needed to go to town meeting prior to making a firm offer.
The Board decided to accepting the time-sensitive offer to purchase as a clear path to eliminating the financial and management responsibilities the Whately facility requires.
Please contact me if you have any questions.