October 13, 2010

The Joy of Common Ground

A dispute between the Derry Public Library and the Masons 
could have snowballed, but the neighbors decided to work together instead. 
Derry Masonic Association president George Chapman cuts down one of 
several signs that have warned patrons of the nearby Derry Public Library against parking in front of the Masonic Temple on East Broadway Tuesday. "I don't want to have a bitter neighbor," Chapman said. 
"We'll go more than halfway to keep our neighbors happy."
Union Leader Correspondent

 — It might be just a few No Parking signs, but Derry Masonic Association president George Chapman said taking down signs that have restricted library patrons from parking in front of the Masonic Temple is meant as an olive branch of sorts.
“I don’t want to have bitter neighbors,” Chapman said yesterday, while taking metal cutters to several signs in front of the Masonic building on East Broadway in
“We’ll go more than halfway to keep our neighbors happy,” he said. “And I think everybody’s happy now.”
The most recent rift between the Masons and neighboring Derry Public Library was sparked earlier this month when the Masons placed a large 
GotBooks.com donation box in front of its building, with
 large yellow lettering asking residents to “Donate Books.” 
GotBooks.com is a for-profit used book seller based in Massachusetts, which allows local community groups to raise money by placing book donation receptacles at their locations, according to the group’s website. 
Once the donation bin is full, Chapman said GotBooks. com will pay Masons 6 cents per pound of books collected. 
But staff at the Derry Public Library worried some patrons could be confused and either return borrowed library books or materials to be donated to the library into the GotBooks. com receptacle. 
When book donations are received, staff members troll through the materials and select items to be included in collections at the Derry Public or Taylor libraries, said Derry Public Library Director Cheryl Lynch. Books that don’t make it into the collection are then reserved for a monthly used book sale to benefit the Friends of Derry Libraries, she said. 
But after the donation box sparked some headlines locally, Chapman said he got a call from the Masons Grand Lodge of New Hampshire in Milford asking that a gesture be made. “The Grand Lodge called and said we’ve got to show the community that we’re not hard to get along with and that we can cooperate,” Chapman said. “And we were glad they called us because we didn’t know what to do.” 
While Chapman said the Masons are locked into a yearlong contract with GotBooks. com, the group has agreed to lighten up on some parking restrictions that have been a point of contention for years. 
“A lot of people don’t think we own this side of the road,” said Chapman. “Cars park here and threaten to retaliate if we have them towed. It’s been going on for years.” 
Lynch said: “It’s always been a testy issue. We always tell people don’t park there, but with the other parking lot so far away, some still do.” 
But now anyone will be allowed to park in Mason spaces before 6 p.m., reserving spots for members attending night meetings at the Mason building. Chapman said he will post parking restrictions as needed during special events. 
And on the other hand, Lynch said library staff will contribute used books they can’t sell or use in their collection to the Mason donation box, which she said she would normally have to pay someone to pick up and recycle. 
“(Chapman) made a wonderful overture to come here, and I appreciate that,” Lynch said. “I hope that we can make this tiny little area work for everybody.” 
Chapman said he will soon place signs on the GotBooks. com donation box to remind people that it is not intended for library materials. 
“Charity is our main objective and so is theirs, in some sense,” he said. “It’s better to have two charities working together than doing the same thing separately.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment