Inmate Community Service Program aids Athol Public Library with move

The Athol Daily News

Responding to a request from Library Director Debra Blanchard, Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis this week provided free inmate labor through the Sheriff’s Inmate Community Service Program to the library to assist with the heavy moving of all the books, furniture and shelving from its Main Street location to its temporary home located at the town’s new senior center on Freedom Street.

The library will operate on a limited basis out of the site during the renovation/expansion of the 584 Main St. location. The library, which dates back to the early 1900s will be undergoing major renovations over the next year with the construction of a new 12,000 square-foot addition.

In addition to assisting with the move of the library, the inmate work crews also completed the interior painting and trim work at the new senior center and temporary library location.

The project completed by the Sheriff’s Inmate Community Service Program provides the town of Athol with well over $5,000 in savings. The inmate work crews are made up of non-violent, non-sex offender individuals approaching the end of their sentence who have earned a place in the Community Service Program.

Since taking office last year, Evangelidis has more than tripled the size of the Inmate Community Service Program and in addition to recently helping at the library, it has also provided inmate work crews to complete projects at the town’s housing authority and in downtown area in preparation for the 250th anniversary celebration, providing a significant savings of well over $30,000 for Athol’s community.

“The Inmate Community Service Program has provided a true win-win for the town of Athol and for the Sheriff’s Department,” said Evangelidis. “With local communities and worthy organizations continuing to struggle during these tough fiscal times, our inmate work crews are able to accomplish many projects at no cost, resulting in a significant savings for municipalities and non-profit organizations while inmates who are selected for the program appreciate the opportunity of a productive days work.

“With over two million dollars in savings for our local communities since last year, the Inmate Community Service Program continues to serve as a great asset and as sheriff I am thrilled to provide this much needed and valuable resource to Athol’s public library, senior center, [and] housing authority and to help prepare for the town’s 250th anniversary celebration.”

“On behalf of the Athol Public Library, I would like to enthusiastically thank Sheriff Evangelidis for his visit today and for providing us the Inmate Community Service Program to help with all the heavy moving of all our library books, furniture and shelving as we relocate to our temporary home at the new senior center,” said Blanchard. “With so many books and materials to move, we could not have completed this major project in such an affordable and timely manner without the sheriff’s work crews. With well over $5,000 in savings, the Sheriff’s Inmate Community Service Program has provided a tremendous cost savings and benefit for our public library, this is a wonderful program where the whole community benefits.”

For more information on the Sheriff’s Inmate Community Service Program, contact the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office at 508-854-1938 or visit www.worcestercountysheriff.com.

Photos of the library move can be viewed on the library’s website at www.athollibrary.org.