Letter to the editor: Financial take on library project was inappropriate

I attended the August 9th event for Ilsley Public Library’s planned renovation/expansion. I was impressed with the amount of work and effort the Project 100 Team and IPL Trustees put into the program. I found the evening to be well organized with useful information. The ultimate purpose of the event was to share information with the Middlebury community, offer more ways for community members to share their thoughts and priorities with the team, and launch the project off on a positive note.

I thought Joe McVeigh and Dana Hart did an excellent job narrating the state of IPL facilities as well as explaining to the audience the thoughtful approach and work that has already been done. Followed by an overview of the projected timeline for the future.

The three architecture firms all gave fantastic presentations. I had already spent a significant amount of time looking at the drawings to gather my own thoughts and opinions. Yet, the presentations given last night added to my understanding and helped me immensely.

One of the things I appreciate about this community is how we come together to solve problems and try our best to make our solutions a good fit for as many as possible. However, I found Brian Carpenter’s words at the end of the event to be wholly inappropriate. They were contrary to the intent of the event and showed Mr. Carpenter to be ignorant of the important role libraries play in any community and particularly ours. The negative words delivered at the end of something that should have been celebrated did nothing to recommend Mr. Carpenter’s ability to read the room or, frankly, support our community.

While I appreciate the shock value of the price tag for this project, and understand completely the selectboard’s job to be financially responsible with taxpayer monies, that does not mean the selectboard can stick their heads in the sand. I would encourage Mr. Carpenter and all the selectboard to start using the library and spending time there to see just how vital IPL is to the community. I think once a true understanding of the important role IPL plays in Middlebury is known, the selectboard will earnestly get behind this project.

Renee Ursitti, Middlebury

Editor’s note: Renee Ursitti is a librarian at Ilsley Public Library and is writing this letter as a community member not in her role as librarian.

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