Island-wide library solutions
To the Editor:
As a longtime Edgartown resident, I have watched the current discussion about the renovations to the library with interest. I am a fan of our library and believe that the staff and board do an excellent job. I do admit that I could never quite figure out why the town bought the house next door to the library and still feel that it should be sold as soon as possible before it falls down.
A few thoughts to add to the current discussion:
1) Are Island residents aware that they are able to use the library in any Island town with their current library card, since all libraries are members of the wonderful CLAMS alliance? This fact makes me wonder if any expansion is indeed necessary. The current location is perfect for walkers and downtown visitors. Since it is a Carnegie building, it cannot be abandoned. Why do we need parking? If parking is an issue — we can go to Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs, which have beautiful new facilities.
2) Is this a case of "keeping up with the Joneses"? After Oak Bluffs built their beautiful new school back in the 1990s, it immediately seemed to become necessary for Edgartown to build a brand new school, which always made me think it was our version of keeping up with the "Edgartown always has to be the best" mentality. In these current financial times, I think the idea that Edgartown might even consider carrying the costs of two library buildings (the Carnegie building and the old junior high building) to be ludicrous. Why?
3) This library project has been dragging on for years. Why not just add a small addition onto the back of the existing library and renovate the current structure to include an elevator? Sell that old house next door. I believe that the selectmen should explore other uses for that junior high building — why not turn it into much-needed apartments? Or artist housing/workshop space?
The era of Edgartown always having to be "better" should be over. Economic reality needs to be driving the decision‑making. We should be looking at Island-wide solutions to problems.