Letters to the Editor: Isley Library project needed

In the past 10 years or so, Middlebury has provided new facilities for our police department, our fire department, our town offices, and our recreation department, including a new town gym. That’s in addition to the Cross Street Bridge, which has been a godsend during the recent construction in downtown Middlebury. Almost all of these projects were opposed by those who suggested that they were either unnecessary, too expensive, or both. Every one of those projects has had a tremendously positive effect on the town. And have you noticed a huge increase in your tax rate? I haven’t.
In every case, the people who worked in those older spaces had been pointing out their inadequacies for years.
Ilsley Public Library is more active than practically any similar community library in Vermont. The need for upgrades has been apparent there for years and years, and those needs have been consistently shifted to the back burner while other town projects have been developed. Did you attend any of the open meetings held by the library planning committee to illustrate the needs? I did. There are many, many issues of concern that are costing us plenty of money as it is, such as frequently fixing an old, out-of-date elevator, jerry-rigging an ancient heating system, and dealing with damp and mold. Meanwhile, the most frequently used area of the library is that for children. I’m sorry, but the lovely Middlebury College library up the street is in no way equipped to provide services for the three- to 10-year-old set and their parents. And they are the future of our town.
I am glad to live in a town that is sufficiently forward thinking to plan for its needs in the future. I am grateful for those who pushed for a new bridge and new town facilities and found a way to make it happen, despite opposition. This has always been done in a manner in which a variety of views have been heard respectfully, and I appreciate that, as well. I am somewhat mystified by our continuing method of electing or appointing people to look into problems and issues, provide them with limited resources, expect them to put in years of work, and then immediately rejecting their carefully considered ideas before we have even examined or looked critically at the issues they hope to address.
I would urge those interested or concerned about this project to visit the library’s website and carefully read the 60-page report that outlines the many deficiencies of the present building, and proposes a variety of possible solutions. I would also encourage you to attend the fall meeting of the library building committee (date and time to be announced and publicized) and to learn more about the needs, issues, and concerns with our town library. Thanks.
Joe McVeigh, Middlebury

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