December 19, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Vote for Chester Library to Win Prestigious CT Treasure Award

To the Editor:

With all the differing opinions about whether or not the town of Chester needs a new 8,000 square foot, $7.4 million library, or if a library of this magnitude can be sustained or utilized to its fullest capacity by Chester’s 4,245 residents, one thing is for sure – the Chester Library is a true Connecticut treasure. It has been recognized as such by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIACT) who has nominated the Chester Library for their prestigious Connecticut Treasures Award.

Our library was chosen to represent Middlesex County and we are in great company! Other nominees include New Haven County: Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven; Fairfield County: Pequot Library, Fairfield; Hartford County: Kent Memorial Library, Suffield; Litchfield County: Hotchkiss Memorial Library, Sharon; New London County: Public Library of New London, New London; Tolland County: George Maxwell Memorial Library; and Windham County: North Woodstock Public Library, North Woodstock.

The voting process is a People’s Choice format, and the voting period is from July 9th through the 20th, so please vote for our Middlesex County Connecticut Treasure, the Chester Library, at: https://aiact.org/vote-2018-connecticut-treasures.

Sincerely,

Caryn B. Davis,
Chester.

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Letter to the Editor: Proposed Library Plans Warrant Close Inspection, More Questions From Chester Residents

To the Editor:

I love libraries. I visit different ones weekly. But I have concerns about whether or not an 8,000 square foot, $7.4 million library (excluding bonding costs), can be sustained by Chester’s taxpayers, or utilized enough by Chester’s population to warrant a building of this magnitude.

There’s been much discussion about developing North Quarter Park. But until the Board of Finance and taxpayers vote on it, it’s not a done deal although a lot of time, money and hard work have gone into creating these plans. Perhaps there are more cost effective options to keep taxes down so young families can afford to move here, and older families can afford to stay.

Has a feasibly study been done on the space where the Essex Savings Bank is after their lease is up? It’s large enough. There’s plenty of parking. There’s a community room upstairs. It’s already built. The town owns it. It’s 0.6 miles from the center. Can we revisit expanding the current library since a survey conducted by the Chester Public Library stated residents “resoundingly preferred to stay in the current location.”

Perhaps we build a smaller library. The state recommendation is 1.6 square feet per person. With a population of 4,245, and approximately 1,041 cardholders, does 6,720 square feet or smaller make sense? Certainly, it would cost less to build, staff and maintain. Libraries are also going digital and ultimately will require less space to house collections. Should this be considered when deciding on how much square footage is need? We also have 6 neighboring libraries offering programs and events all within a 12-minute drive or less that can easily be utilized.

We, the taxpayers, should carefully consider what the size, scope and cost of this project should be, and what we as a town, really need.

Sincerely,

Caryn B. Davis,
Chester, CT.

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