Elaine Puleo: It is not too much to ask for a new library in Shutesbury

  • The M.N. Spear Memorial Library in Shutesbury center. File photo

Thursday, May 05, 2022

An April 27 letter, “Library sticker shock is settling in,” states an opinion that Shutesbury doesn’t need a new library. Truths have been inflated to justify this reasoning. Let’s take a look at the facts.

Shutesbury is a small town whose burden of funding services lies with property owners. The majority of the properties in town are modest. We cherish our land and open space. Our town does not have lavish buildings or complexes. We stay modest with an eye to utility and keeping costs down.

For years we have known our town library is housed in inadequate facilities. It is not handicap accessible, has no running water, and inadequate space for programming. Is it too much to ask a town for a place where all can come together and share in the collective holding of knowledge and resources? Is it too much to ask for a place for a preschool story hour or where elementary aged children can walk after school?

Is it too much to ask for a place where teenagers can gather in their town and not on the streets of Amherst? Is it too much to ask for a place where seniors can meet in community to fend off isolation and loneliness? Is it too much to ask for a space where those who can’t afford books, magazines, newspaper subscriptions, a computer or adequate heat in winter and cooling in summer can go?

Is it too much to ask the whole community to share in the joy but also the burden of building such a place?

Contrary to any claims, the town did not “think big and make this their dream library.” Size, features and furnishings are not unlimited. Indeed, the proposed new library is smaller in size than that proposed 10 years ago. The library planning committee has been keenly aware of both the needs and character of Shutesbury. There’s an understanding of what this community needs and wants.

It’s time to build the new Shutesbury library. Come to town meeting on May 21st to show support for your new public library.

Elaine Puleo