, Newburyport, MA

May 16, 2013

Make informed vote on Salisbury library

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Salisbury’s registered voters will be asked to vote for a new library at the Town Meeting on Monday, May 20. The voters must approve the project with a two-thirds majority in order for the new library to become a reality.

I have met people who are planning to vote no, mostly because of the projected rise in their taxes beyond what they already pay. This amount is projected to be between $40 and $50 for five years for the average home in Salisbury. This amounts to less than $1 per week for five years. That is the price many people pay for a weekly lottery ticket or a package of gum. Before those people vote no, I would like to encourage them to visit and even schedule a tour of the library before they vote, so that they can make an informed decision about their choice.

At this time, the library is not handicapped accessible. If the library proposal fails, the library will still need to be made handicapped accessible in order to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act . We will lose about 1,000 square feet of space when we meet the regulations because the stacks need to be widened so that people in wheelchairs can navigate easily. If voters turn this proposal down, instead of the measly 3,000 square feet that we have now, we will have 2,000 square feet. These renovations are projected to cost close to what the town will be bonding to construct a brand new facility that will meet Salisbury’s needs.

Now picture yourself as a 4-foot citizen who can’t vote, who loves picture books and dinosaurs and monsters. Go into the children’s room and look way up high, stacked beyond your reach, at all the books that you can’t peruse on your own. Book shelving has to reach the ceiling because there is not enough shelving space. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have books shelved in a situation where the 4-foot person can actually look at them on his own?

The Salisbury library has four computers that you can use if you need to use a computer. There is space for about two stations, but you will share the space with four people. If you like knocking elbows with others and asking people to move while you get in and out of your seat, you will be comfortable here.

I hope all Salisbury citizens will go to Town Meeting and vote for the new library. This antiquated facility was determined to be inadequate in 1984 and the ensuing years have not made it more adequate, despite wishful thinking. A new library will serve Salisbury’s need for many years to come and will be a building that will make citizens proud to be from a community that is forward-thinking and community-minded. Please vote yes and help make the Salisbury Library a place that can continue to be the heart of the community for many years to come.

Monique Greilich