Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: A strong Ilsley Library attracts young families like ours

The Ilsley Public Library is consistently one of the most frequently used libraries in the state, but its 100-year-old building is in deteriorating condition. Just to maintain its current state, the building needs millions of dollars in costly upgrades to its HVAC, foundation, elevator, and roof. I’m excited that this renovation and expansion project not only addresses the building’s deficiencies, but also offers improvements that will help the library into its next 100 years and maintain the historic building.

When our young family was choosing a place to live in 2009, we visited Ilsley and decided to move to Middlebury in part because of the vibrant children’s programs. We’ve been dedicated library patrons ever since and our children have grown up attending storytimes, doing crafts, playing games, checking out books, and meeting friends at Ilsley. I’m thrilled that the next generation of Middlebury’s children will have a light-filled, expanded children’s room with improved sightlines on key areas like entryways and restrooms.

Flexible programming spaces like the Early Learning Wiggle Room, Teen Room, and afterhours conference room will provide places to meet and gather for community and library events. Accessible and welcoming entrances will help all patrons access the library from either Main Street or the back parking lot.

While I know that the price tag on the bond is likely to be concerning for some, it is important to note that other anticipated funding sources bring the cost to taxpayers down substantially. Of the roughly $17 million, taxpayers are expected to pay only about $4 million — less than what the Ilsley 100 Team estimated for just repairs to the current library building. I’m hopeful that the bond will pass on May 7 and that by July 2026 we can move into a beautiful new Ilsley Public Library!

Meg Baker

Middlebury

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