To The Daily Sun,
After being open for more than five years, the Gilmanton Year-Round Library is mired in, from my perspective, a scratch-your-head financial malaise. Some of the most avid library users still advocate for no public funding. The selectmen still take no pride in a building and its services that greatly enhance the quality of life in Gilmanton.
When I was hired as the first librarian at the GYRL, the trustees and I agreed on several goals. Just about all were accomplished. We wanted to provide full library services for at least five days per week. We wanted to provide these services in a relaxed atmosphere outside of the politics and personalities of the town. We wanted the library to be a community living room and community meeting space welcoming to all. And we wanted significant collections in all media, including state-of-the-art technology and participation in the N.H. State Library Inter-library Loan Network. All services had to equal the building's potential. These goals were met and in the last four years enhanced.
We were optimistic that residents of Gilmanton would say, "I might not use this library, but many of my neighbors and their children will and it is a service that should be offered to the community."
Public libraries, by their very nature, are the center — not of any class or section — but of the entire community. The poorest family and the richest family have equal privileges. Children and young people and middle-aged people and old people have equal interest in a local library and its content. A library serves the whole community as no other institution in its midst does.
Now I know that most Gilmanton residents are both kind and open-minded. It was no secret that, as the GYRL's first librarian, I was born and raised in the Bronx and am an avid Yankee fan. But still, I was almost universally treated cordially and with respect by library visitors, school administration and staff, and town officials.
It is my hope that the Gilmanton Selectmen, Budget Committee and voters support GRYL funding. Given my experience at the GYRL, I do have several items for thought.
Item 1: Gilmanton Year-Round Library Trustees please change the name. It has been and still is a finger in the eye to the other two libraries in town. I like the name Gilmanton Central Library, halfway between the Corners and the Iron Works. But I am sure other polite names will come to mind.
Item 2: Create one online catalog for all three libraries so borrowers can find the closest library that has the wanted item. Also, coordinate hours open as to maximize the number of hours at least one library will be open. Coordinate book and other media purchases to get the broadest collection possible. This might mean a coordination of funding requests from the town and appeals for private funding.
Item 3: Remember libraries are cooperative, not competitive, organizations.
First GYRL Librarian
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 10:09
To The Daily Sun,
Having listened to the media crucify the Patriots, I believe it is time to put in my two cents worth. I find it laughable that listening to media reports, some people immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Patriot management had somehow cheated the Colts by using some nefarious scheme to under-inflate the recent playoff game footballs to give some sort of advantage to their team.
First, let me say that while I am a life-long fan of New England teams, I am not an expert in all the rules governing play in these various sports. I, however, enjoy watching games on television. If I recall correctly, the game officials seem to be throwing out a lot footballs. But I also recall that day that the skies opened and it "poured cats and dogs." I don't suppose that those officials were trying to dry each ball? Instead, as one TV report had it, they were purposely throwing out under-inflated footballs. It was also reported by the media that the game officials during halftime checked all the footballs and inflated those that didn't meet league rules. Also, didn't both teams use the same under-inflated balls? It beats me how one team can use a football to great advantage while the other team using the same football can't do anything with it. I also seem to recall that during the second half that the Patriots were now playing with correctly inflated footballs, they scored more points then than in the first half when they played with under-inflated ones.
I believe the answer to this riddle is simple physics. I remember way back when in high school Physics 1 we learned that a given amount of air, say that in a football inflated in a warm 70s degrees room, would reduce in size when cooled, say on a 15 or so degree cold playing field. But this simple answer will still not please the critics. I wonder if when the Patriots are proven innocent in this matter (as I am sure they will be), all those accusers, including the media, who helped to destroy the reputation of a fine organization will come forward and make a public apology.
Ha! That'll be the day!
Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 09:47
To The Daily Sun,
The Lakes Region Tea Party had a wonderful meeting Wednesday night, despite The Daily Sun not putting us into their calendar. Of the three topics on the agenda, the most discussed was the Convention of States, or the Constitutional Convention. The participants in the group with knowledge of the subject were definitely divided, being either pro or con. Therefore, at our next meeting, Feb. 18, there will be a debate on both sides.
It's obviously not a partisan issue, and all members of the public are invited to attend this very important discussion, as only one state remains to call the convention, according to Article V of the Constitution. Do we want it or not? How will it affect you? What do our representatives know about it?
Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 09:41
To The Daily Sun,
I am a student at Empire Beauty School in downtown Laconia and I am required to park in the free parking garage during the day.
Since I've been here, my car has been broken into and has had money and other personal items stolen twice. Along with my vehicle, countless other vehicles are being broken into by busting windows and "slim-jimming" the door locks. In one case, a girl I am in school with had a Bowie knife taken out of her car.
How are we to feel safe if some burglar is running around, armed and dangerous? Time after time we file reports and are reassured that police will make their rounds during the day, but clearly it's not at the right time. The "SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS IN OPERATION" signs posted throughout the garage may be misleading as we have been brushed off when requesting the footage of each incident.
This is an important issue that seriously needs to be taken care of. Please help our community become a safer place.
Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 09:29
To The Daily Sun,
Belmont voters deserve options.
Article 3 in the Belmont's Town Warrant bundles three decisions into one package with a total price tag of $3,357,250 ($2,957,250 funded through a 20-25 year bond and $400,000 in Town Capital Reserve funds). What's proposed is:
1. Repair and protect Belmont's historic Mill built in 1833 and partially restored/adapted for reuse in 1998 after a major fire in 1992. Work proposed includes masonry restoration, and structural work. Cost: $1,064,930
2. Replace poorly functioning electrical, mechanical, and sprinkler systems in the mill. Cost: $ 845,399
3. Relocate current Town Hall Offices to the Belmont Mill with complete renovation on all four floors (build office space, meeting rooms, furnishings, construction for additional storage and contingency funds). Cost: $1,446,921 (Note: These costs are not separated out fully in the town summary, but are drawn from materials provided.)
Town selectmen and staff are to be commended for hiring certified/licensed professionals for a comprehensive assessment of our most important landmark building, the historic Belmont Mill.
There's no doubt that protecting the mill is a vital investment in Belmont's future and should move forward. Replacement of the building systems also appears to be a good investment for its long-term use, but could be completed when building use is expanded.
What isn't offered in this proposal is a full public discussion on the merits of moving Town Offices to the mill, comparing costs with renovation of the existing Town Office which still has an unused upstairs/second floor, or repairs/renovation of the vacant bank building purchased three years ago for Town Offices.
The current proposal calls for all four floors of the mill to be used for Town Offices, and a smaller Senior Center. Housing fewer than 20 full- and part-time employees does not require the entire mill which is almost three times the existing town office space. The gross square footage of the Belmont Mill is close in size to Laconia's City Hall, a facility designed for a far larger community and staff.
Belmont is exploring alternatives for active reuse of the bank building on Main Street. Shouldn't this also be explored with the mill and Town Hall building as well? Belmont has supported innovative efforts before, like using Community Revitalization Tax Credit to help improve the village neighborhood. So why not use creative public and private ventures to improve these buildings at a reduced cost and increased community benefit?
By combining all these decisions in one bundle, Belmont voters lose the opportunity to choose the elements of the proposal they support or to look at other options such as phasing these improvements, and seeking partners to improve the Mill and share the space.
Belmont needs a better Capital Investment Program process with a five-year project priority list that clearly defines potential public investments. Decisions like restoring the mill, moving Town Hall, expanding the Police Station, looking at library needs and building recreational trails can be planned, shared, agreed upon and budgeted in advance.
I encourage Belmont voters to look at the information the town has posted on Article #3 http://www.belmontnh.org/projectsbelmontmill.asp and attend the Deliberative Session on Jan. 31, and the public information meeting on Feb. 23, at Belmont High School. And be sure and cast your ballot and vote on March 10.
Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 09:27