To the Editor:
I urge my friends, neighbors, and townspeople to support and VOTE YES on the new library project.
While money should be a consideration, it is shortsighted to stop there. Some thought should be given to the fact that state taxes will be going down. Wouldn’t the use of reduced tax revenue be a worthy trade-off for the cost of a library? We need to seek creative solutions to make this project happen, rather than putting up roadblocks.
Instead of focusing on the negative aspect, money, there are other questions we could be asking:
How energy-efficient will the new library be? Will the energy savings offset some of the other costs?
How serious are the air-quality issues at the present library? What will the remediation costs be? Once that work has begun, what surprises will arise during the remediation process? Isn’t there a cost to bring the present library up to code?
What are the costs of running dehumidifiers to protect the books in the existing library? What are the health concerns for the staff and library patrons?
As for renovating the present library, will the state contribute or do we lose all the state-grant money?
We have been down this road before! Prior to the Middle School being built, to avoid state involvement, we replaced all the windows in the school at a cost of more than $100,000, only to build a new school a few years later. At Summer Street School, a new heating system was put in as another stop-gap measure, and that cost us the opportunity for a new school rather than a renovated one. In both cases, a waste of taxpayer dollars!
As a community, we need to take the long view. If we want to give our children a first-class education and have an informed community, we need a state-of-the-art library that will put us in good stead for the next 50 years. Cutting corners only ensures that the library becomes obsolete sooner rather than later.
In the last decade, like so many institutions, our libraries have been under siege with banned books, and many of them serving as afterschool day care for middle schoolers.
If we want to attract and keep talented library professionals, we need to make their work environment as attractive as the town we live in.
WE MUST ACT NOW! Vote yes on the library project!