Library Trustee candidates say ‘aging’ Southworth Library a concern

Mar 26, 2024

Dartmouth’s book lovers may want to pay extra attention to this year’s April 2 election as four candidates run for open seats on the Library Board of Trustees. The candidates include Maya Wolfson, Mary Anne Cole, Linda Garibaldi, and Lynne Cotter. 

During a candidates night on Thursday, March 21 at the Dartmouth Town Hall, the attending candidates said the aging Southworth Library is one of the major challenges facing Dartmouth Public Libraries.  

Wolfson said the Southworth Libary’s problems include its plumbing, HVAC system and asbestos. Garibaldi and Cole concurred that the Southworth Library is an area of concern, but didn’t provide specifics. Cole said that this may require remodeling the Southworth Library and exploring some updated layouts. 

All three candidates also weighed in on some of the ways they would improve the Dartmouth libraries if they were elected. 

Cole recommended offering more programs for seniors at the North Branch Library. 

On a similar note, Wolfson said there should be programs for teenagers. 

Garibaldi said she would like to see both the North Branch Library and Southworth library get more involved with Cushman and Potter elementary schools. 

In their opening statements, the candidates talked about their qualifications for serving on the Library Board of Trustees. 

Garibaldi, who has lived in Dartmouth for 21 years, said she’s a retired legal services attorney, a Town Meeting representative, served on the search committee for the new library director and was also the president of the Friends of the Dartmouth Libraries.

“Dartmouth’s library is exceptionally good,” Garibaldi said. “It also has an exceptionally good staff. I am enormously impressed with their professionalism and their enthusiasm.” 

For the past seven months, Garibaldi has been filling a vacancy on the Board of Library Trustees. 

For over a decade, Wolfson said she was a program manager for a New York City law firm. 

“If elected to be a library trustee, I would be a dedicated member who learns from the current trustees, keeps an open mind, and helps implement strategic plans,” Wolfson said. “I would also not shy away from leading initiatives when appropriate. More broadly, I want to involve and give back to the Dartmouth community.”

Cole graduated from the Dartmouth Public School system and went on to attend UMass Dartmouth. She said she’s spent most of her career in newspaper advertising and would use those skills to promote the libraries’ programs and services. 

Cole said she’s lived in Dartmouth all of her life and that her children, now adults, regularly visited Dartmouth Public Libraries when they were kids.

“We need to be ready to meet the needs of the community whether that be technology updates or innovative programs,” Cole said.

Cotter was unable to attend the candidates night. In a statement sent to Dartmouth Week, Cotter said she is a retired special needs teacher, a volunteer for Autism on the Seas, and that she also serves on the board for the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust. She states that she does not believe in book banning, and says that visitors to the library should have the right to choose what they want to read. 

Beginning in the third grade, Cotter says the library has always been “a place of comfort” for her. 

“I love being surrounded by books,” Cotter said.