Dear Honorable Legislators,
Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the Tilton Library has enriched countless lives and made Deerfield a more desirable place to live. Our library’s goal is to increase opportunities for lifelong learning, expand our afterschool resources for kids and teens, contribute to the welfare of Deerfield residents, and better meet the technology needs of our community. Currently our library building is unable to meet those goals at meaningful levels due to lack of space. The building is also old and inflexible and in need of several updates to function better. Libraries are the core of our communities, helping people at all socioeconomic levels and as such need to be well cared for.
We — the undersigned Deerfield residents as well as local business, cultural and community leaders — want to reaffirm our support for the Tilton Library’s historic renovation and expansion project. We also want to thank you for your advocacy thus far.
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused construction costs to spike. In consequence, projects supported by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) in 11 other communities — Amherst, Brewster, Fitchburg, Gloucester, Lynnfield, Orange, Seekonk, Sharon, Swansea, Westborough and Westford — face similar predicaments.
Here in Deerfield, for example, our $8 million library expansion was to be financed by $2.1 million in town borrowing, $2 million from private donations, and a $4 million MBLC grant. On August 10, 2022, our Tilton Library trustees were informed that the projected cost had risen 54 percent, to $12.3 million. That’s $4.3 million more than Deerfield expected to have to borrow. The 11 other communities face similar predicaments.
As a new governor steps in and a new era begins, the Legislature can help get these library projects across the finish line by providing more money to mitigate these COVID-related cost spikes. Supplemental grants — whether from federal programs or state “pothole” accounts — would mean less borrowing, less money spent on debt service and interest, and more resources for our residents today.
What seems like a large sum to the 12 individual towns affected is very affordable for the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please help us deliver the public libraries these communities need and deserve.
Thank you for your consideration and dedication to the citizens of the Commonwealth.
TILTON LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES:
James Cambias | Nancy Maynard | Kathleen O’Rourke | Elizabeth Schmitt | Marjorie Shearer |
Cynthia Von Flatern | Satu Zoller
Tim Hilchey | Trevor McDaniel | Carolyn Ness
To be included on the letter sent