Library director bids Wareham farewell
Wareham Free Library Director Michael Carlozzi bid farewell to coworkers and supporters on Tuesday, Aug. 7, during a reception held in his honor.
Carlozzi is set to start a new position Aug. 20 as the director of the East Providence Library where he will serve a city of 47,000.
While his feelings on leaving the Wareham Free Library were mixed, Carlozzi said he felt more accomplished than sad as the paperwork for the library's recertification is expected to be finished before next Tuesday.
The Wareham Free Library lost its state certification back in 2014 when voters defeated a Proposition 2 1/2 override, which, if approved, would have provided money for several town agencies by raising property taxes.
After it failed, the library’s budget was slashed from $295,637 to $125,000. The cut forced staff to reduce hours and spending on new materials, ultimately costing the library it's certification.
This caused the library to miss out on grant opportunities as well as access to the state’s library network.
During his time with the library, Carlozzi’s salary was funded in part through the Wareham Library Foundation.
"It was a dark time," Carlozzi said. "I'm glad to say that it's all behind us now."
Carlozzi, a resident of Providence, grew up in Wareham and worked at the library as a page throughout high school and college:
"I always wanted to come back in a professional sense," he said. "I know everyone here, and I'm going to miss it."
During his farewell speech, Carlozzi thanked the tireless efforts of the Wareham Free Library staff and what he called his "skeleton crew.”
"An institution outlasts any one person," Carlozzi said. "And I want to thank everyone here. This reception isn't about me, it's about us and what we were able to do."
According to Carlozzi, the Wareham Free Library will receive it's recertification in November, two years ahead of schedule.
"Libraries aren't dying or outdated," Carlozzi said. "We still have a lot to offer, and I hope people will come visit us."