Discussions over private tutors using space at the Guilderland Public Library and what procedures or policies should be implemented continued at the library Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, May 8.
Library board member Bryan Best said the policy committee discussed the tutoring procedures previously instituted to address private tutors using space at the library to meet with clients.
“There was concerns back then; now there are new concerns,” Best said. “I think there was talk of possibly bringing in tutors, having closed sessions, where we could kind of discuss the issue and come to a solution for everyone.”
Best said using the Guilderland Room and “cramming them all in there” did not work out well for the tutors. The procedure has since changed to allow more leeway. Library representatives are now looking to bring in “known tutors” and develop a policy pleasing everyone.
“It’s an ongoing dilemma and I don’t know if we’ll ever find a real solution to it, but we can only work with the parties involved and see if we can come up with some sort of compromise,” said Margaret Garret, assistant director of the library.
Parents of children who were being tutored at the library have said their children are now going to Bethlehem Public Library because “the situation is better there,” according to Best.
“I think we all want people to come here, but at the same time we don’t want people to leave because it is too loud,” Best said. “It’s a fine line that we are going to be trying to deal with, but that is really what’s on the committee’s radar. We are going to try to walk that line as best we can.”
Library board member Barbara Fraterrigo asked why people were saying Bethlehem library was better for tutoring.
“They essentially have no policy,” Guilderland Library Director Tim Wiles said. “They just don’t feel like there is a call in their library for so much quiet that they need to put tutors in any particular place, or regulate them.”
Bethlehem Public Library Director Geoffrey Kirkpatrick previously told Spotlight News there is enough space at the library for tutoring, and there had not been any complaints over such activity. Wiles said one corner of Bethlehem’s library is reserved as a quiet area.
Guilderland functions almost the opposite, with tutors asking to use study rooms and then, if the rooms were full, the general library could be used, according to Wiles.
“It is sort of reserving what we have done,” he said.
Wiles said if the library did charge tutors to use the space, staff members would have to patrol the building and constantly be asking people if they were tutoring. Some library employees have told administrators they don’t feel comfortable approaching people to ask if they are being tutored.
“It might not be a profitable use of our time to do that,” Wiles said.