Tonight I proudly voted to fund the expansion and renovation project for the Jones Library. Nine other councilors joined me in this vote, which will ensure our beloved Jones Library will be able to meet the 21st century needs of all patrons. Below are my prepared comments.
A century ago, the Jones Library Trustees had a vision of a library that would be more than just a
warehouse for books. The building would look and feel like a home. It would welcome and support
residents’ desire to learn, not just from books, but from each other. The building would welcome
performers and speakers. It would be not just a building for learning, but a building for community. And
95 years later, the vision is still alive – a place where our residents go to learn, to relax, to socialize, and
to become part of our community. It is our living room, office, library, and entertainment space – a place
to find books, a place to learn a new language in a new country, a place where a parent and child new to
town can meet other families, a place where a resident who has no home can spend a day out of the
cold or heat, a place where people can be less lonely and socialize with others, a place where a student
can study without distraction or where teens can work on group projects without the worry of being
judged by the size and condition of their own homes, a place where someone without a computer or
broadband at home can search for and apply for a job, and place to enrich yourself culturally without
needing to spend money. The Jones is a second home for our residents. And, 100 years on, that home
needs to be upgraded and expanded to be able to carry out these needs for the next 50 years.
Our job as Councilors is to serve the residents, a large majority of whom, based on past Trustee
elections and statements to us, support this project. It is also our job to vote in accordance with our
policy goals. This year’s Performance Objectives for the Town Manager include six Goals that directly
relate to this vote. We told the Town Manager we will evaluate his job performance based on making
forward progress on these areas. We, ourselves, must also act to show we are serious about these
Goals. A yes vote helps us meet the Climate Action Goals we adopted in 2019 by getting rid of the fossil
fuel heating system and dramatically improving the energy efficiency in one of our biggest public
buildings. A yes vote helps our future economic health and well-being by bringing more visitors to town.
A yes vote addresses social justice in our society – by providing sufficient space for programs that serve
the less privileged among us – those that have no home, those don’t speak English, those that don’t
have a computer or broadband internet at home, and those that have trouble navigating stairs and
other impediments. A yes vote is financially prudent with an eye to the long term, given the nearly
identical costs the Town would incur to repair the building with a fossil fuel heating system and little
improvement in energy efficiency. A yes vote ensures that the building will serve our residents over the
next 50 years, while spending nearly the same money just on repairs does not. As a Council, we cannot
expect the Manager to follow our goals if we ourselves do not. The time is now to walk the walk, not just
talk the talk. I will proudly and enthusiastically vote yes.