Letter to the editor: Good idea to move Mt. Abe library

The conceptual plans for renovating the Mt. Abraham Middle/High School call for relocating the library to the entrance area of the building.
There is much confusion in the community about the reasoning behind this move and the need for the associated costs.
Evaluating the current space, the changes to educational needs, and how the existing classrooms relate to each other has been ongoing. Relocating the library within the building was born of the perspective that consolidating metal/wood/tech education spaces on the main level is logical.
The wood shop is located on the ground floor, near the facilities maintenance department. Raw materials are easily deliverable from the outside to these spaces through service doors.
The metal shop is located on the second floor. Delivering raw materials must be accomplished by stairway as the elevator is not suitably sized for this function. The staircase contains a switchback with a landing in the middle. Carrying long metal pieces up a winding staircase has obviously been accomplished out of necessity but the walls take a beating and this activity must be scheduled when other traffic on the stairs is non-existent.
The current library location, along with the surrounding rooms, provides adequate space to consolidate all of these shop areas plus the facilities maintenance department. An existing service door behind the library will serve for easy delivery of all types of materials. Expanding Mt. Abraham’s accessibility to the community is a vibrant conversation. This consolidation creates the opportunity to use these spaces for adult education in off school hours, as they can be secured from other academic areas of the building.
Now, to choose an alternative location for the library. Our school is first and foremost a facility for learning. A library is an integral piece of any educational institution and a traditional symbol of study. Locating this space at the entrance of the building provides proof that our focus is on educating our children. The proximity to the gym sends the message that we focus on the minds and physical well-being of our students. For new families considering a move to our community, this first impression is essential.
I graduated from Mt. Abraham in 1982. The library looked then very much like it does today. However, the ways it is utilized by the students are very different. For one thing, computers had not yet been incorporated into our daily lives. It speaks volumes to the abilities of the librarians and administrators to keep up with the rapidly changing technological and learning needs of our student in the existing space. To serve the next generations of our students, upgrading the library into a robust media hub is necessary, no matter the location within the building.
There are many ways to learn; reading, participating, physically building, discussion, planning. Public schools must incorporate all these methods, and more. Libraries and mechanical shop disciplines are two important segments to a complete educational curriculum. The current, conceptual plan for renovating Mt. Abraham includes comprehensive, deliberate, and thoughtful attention to all areas of the facility. Once the bond amount is established, the detailed specifications can be established.
Please vote on Town Meeting Day.
Denise Dalton

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