Letter to the editor: Library project merits support

Consider: What social institution is now and has historically been the most successful at improving the lives of the general public, while at the same time harboring little to no harm and trouble?

Answer: The library.

While many of our social institutions are failing, the library has been quietly doing its job, standing by but not intruding. The library is a friend to everyone in the community and even those who consider themselves to be outside of the community. Because I have such confidence in the library as a social institution, and confidence in our local Ilsley Public library, I am writing this letter to show my support for the upcoming bond vote to fund the library expansion, and to ask you to support it too.

I’m nearly certain I will not be supporting with my tax dollars everything on the ballot. The library expansion may be the only thing I support. I’m definitely one of those people concerned about the money, and my property taxes going up so high that it becomes unaffordable to stay in my home — and where else would I go? Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. But the library expansion makes my extremely short list of what I will say yes to.

Why do I think it’s essential? For one thing, it’s a bargain; the Ilsley Library anticipates that two thirds of the funding for the expansion will come from grants and private fundraising. The expansion and updates to the building will save money and build value into our town over the long run by not deferring maintenance into an antiquated heating system, flooding basement etc. The Ilsley Library expansion is designed for the next 100 years, and serves everyone in the community and beyond, including our grandchildren and their children. 

I applaud our library trustees for their vision, persistence, and dedication in planning not just for the current needs of the library in serving our community, but for the next hundred years at least. As a former library board trustee, I know the steadfast dedication, careful consideration, and regard for library patron input passed from one elected board to the next over many years until at last we come to this point of a bond vote.

A public library offers so many things to people for free — and without any problems resulting! I have never heard of any problems stemming from the presence of library. The presence of the library gives resources to the community to simply help each person get what they need to be and do better. Maybe you haven’t used the library for many years. We all go through different phases in our lives and you may not have visited the library recently, yet the library is there without any bother to you, ready for your future needs: finding out more about a diagnosis, a college, career, travel. The library is a safe and pleasant place to be, explore our interests, and if we choose, to connect with others who share our passions. As such it is a pillar for the mental health of our community, not just in Middlebury but for visitors from surrounding areas as well.

Alice Eckles


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