Tough times at Pember

Diminished funds used to operate the Pember Library and Museum of Natural History has led to a reduction in the hours of operation, the Pember’s executive director said.

Pember Library and Museum Executive Director Pat Wesner said the outright loss of a $20,000 state grant typically used for operating the Pember, combined with other reduced grants and investment returns have cut the amount of funding available for the day to day operation of the historic institution.

“Our budget is dependent on grants to run the place; it’s mostly state money,” Wesner said. “The grants have been cut back and we’re still not sure with the rest of the ones that come from the state.”

“We are having to tighten our belts like everyone else and one of the easiest things to do is change (hours),” Wesner said.

The change results in the reduction of four hours of operation each week and Wesner said the Pember was able to make the cuts to hours with typically lower attendance to have the least amount of impact on patrons.

As a side effect of the international economic crisis, investments made by and for the Pember are not producing the same yields, further reducing operating funds.

“There are just no returns on our investments – no dividends,” Wesner said.

The net effect is less money to operate the Pember with and something had to give, so it was with one of the big-ticket items – heat.

Heating the 100-year-old building is the major difficulty, Wesner said. With an aging heating system and an older building, heating costs are her chief focus to help keep costs down … so much so that employees bundle up rather than turn the heat up.

“We have to have the heat on for the collection, but I don’t want to turn it up unless I have to,” Wesner said.

The cutbacks have meant some personal sacrifices for the staff members. Wesner chuckles when asked about other cuts before revealing that she works with a small electric space heater under her desk and she is wearing boots and long johns. In the hours before opening, Wesner said it is common to find librarian Ardyce Bresett dressing for comfort with an extra layer or two. 

“Then I don’t have to heat the whole building for one person or two people, it’s not worth it to turn the heat up,” she said.

Some times work is done away from the Pember to prevent heating the building for just one person.

“With the advent of the Internet there’s a lot of stuff can be done from home,” Wesner said.

“If it ends up not being a real cold winter and the price (of oil) stays down we’ll go back,” she said.

Wesner said she does not expect to have to reduce the hours any further, but everything depends on the state of the economy.

“We’ll just have to take it as it goes; see how the economy goes because what happens in the economy affects us. We’re invested as much as everybody else is when there aren’t dividends, we suffer,” Wesner said. 

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , ,

About Manchester Newspapers

View all posts by Manchester Newspapers

North Country Freepress – 04/21/17

FreePress_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

Lakes Region Freepress – 04/21/17

Lakes_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

Northshire Freepress – 04/21/17

Northshire_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

Lakes Classifieds – 04/21/17

Lakes_4_21_17.pdf-web.pdf

518 Wheels – 04/20/17

518 Wheels_4_17_17.pdf-web.pdf

St. Mary’s dedication of altar April 27

st. mary's

By Krystle S. Morey Following the recent completion of a years-long renovation, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church is finally ready […]

Area towns, villages plan clean-up events

veterans memorial park

By Krystle S. Morey, Keith Harrington, Matthew Saari Clean up. Clean up. Everybody do your share. Area communities will take […]

Whitehall hosts ‘cutthroat’ Iron Chef competition

Iron Chef winners

By Matthew Saari Iron Chef competitions have more than 20 years of rich history, noble tradition, rigorous rivalries and superbly […]

7 vying seats on Whitehall school board

Elementary School Memorial Day

By Matthew Saari In a continuing trend of civic involvement throughout Whitehall, seven individuals have thrown their figurative hats in […]

Five seek seats on Granville school board

A desk has been set up at the front of the Elementary School for security and tax processing. All visitors must check in at the front desk or office when entering either the high school or elementary school.
This new procedure is designed to improve security at the facilities.

By Krystle S. Morey Put down your pencils. The petitions for seats on the Granville Board of Education are in. […]

Lakes Classifieds – 04/14/17

Lakes_4_14_17.pdf-web.pdf

Weekender – 04/14/17

Weekender_4_14_17.pdf-web.pdf