IMPORTANT Special Town Meeting for the Library Expansion on MONDAY OCTOBER 24 at 6:00pm at Frontier Regional High School
*NOTE* Other important meetings to attend before this one:
- WED OCT 19 AT 6:00PM: the Deerfield Selectboard will host an informational session on the warrant articles for the Special Town Meeting on Oct. 24. Please attend the meeting, ask questions and offer comments. The meeting will be at Town Hall and on zoom.
Dial-in number: 312-626-6799, 929-205-6099, or 833 548 0276 US
Meeting ID: 911 604 1580
- FRI OCT 21 AT 4:30PM: Finance Committee Meeting, where the Library Expansion article will be revisited with updated information, and may be reconsidered to be recommended. The meeting will be at Town Hall and on zoom.
Dial In: 1-(312) 626-6799 Or 1-(929) 205-6099, Toll Free (833) 548- 0276
Meeting ID: 911 604 1580
So, here we are Deerfield! The Tilton Library Building Expansion will be on this special town meeting warrant. After a decade-long process of hard work and following all the steps in order to get our $4M grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the fate is in the hands of whoever shows up on Monday October 24.If this passes by 2/3 majority, then a special election will be scheduled with a ballot on December 6.
This project goes way beyond a labor of love. This project has unfolded in response to your feedback over the years – residents of Deerfield. The resulting plans after your feedback, and staff and trustees observations on the building, will greatly improve our library’s biggest challenges:
- Have you noticed…our shelves are OVERCROWDED – for every book purchased one must be removed.
- WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE. Plenty of folks have experienced the awkwardness of having a program or meeting in busy spaces where the person sitting at a table discussing a book or listening to a speaker is practically back-to-back with those using computers or browsing the shelves.
- Middle and high school STUDENTS whose school is a stone’s throw away only have a narrow former closet to call their space.
- BATHROOMS: When nature calls while in the building you are forced to use one bathroom on one floor, which is inconvenient and not very accessible.
- Speaking of ACCESSIBILITY, our lift is slow and clunky, our spaces narrow, and the one bathroom on one floor thing again.
- In recent years COVID has made clear that public buildings need flexibility so we can better serve people while still being safe.
It is time to adapt to our growing town and evolving world. And with a multi-million dollar grant at our feet we are poised to complete this transformational journey. And if that wasn’t enough funding assistance – $4M is no laughing matter – our own selectboard has rallied for our library, and the other 11 libraries on the same grant list, to get additional funding from the state government supplemental budget and unused ARPA funds, to the tune of $4.3M for our library. We also have access to other serious funding offsets, like our $2M fundraising goal, LEED certified reimbursement of $750,000, and potential $1M CPA dollars! Forty state legislators are fighting for us on this.
All this activity will converge on a deadline – we have until January 9 to secure the town funding or we will lose all of it and have to start over many years from now without guarantee of a second chance.
Why does this matter? Because the library is an essential town service – like schools, senior services, and emergency services. The library is the core of the community, serving babies to seniors with lifelong learning and community connection. Your library can be your best friend, a place of refuge, of learning, of feeling less isolated. This is true for anyone, whether you read or not. This is true for those you care about – your friends, neighbors, children, grandchildren, your parents and grandparents. And right now your library – like a root bound plant – needs a transplant, a bigger home. Then we can really thrive.
The Impact of the Library Expansion on Your Property Taxes
If you own a home in Deerfield, the cost of the project to the average assessed household in the Town of Deerfield will be $12.16/month or $2.80 per week, less than renting one movie. This cost could go way down – to almost pennies – if we receive the $1M CPA dollars and the additional state funding of $4.3M as described above. The library’s Tilton Fund, in alliance with the Selectboard, Finance Committee, private donors, and 40 state legislators (including our own Jo Comerford and Natalie Blais) has worked tirelessly to bring these costs down and we feel hopeful about getting the additional funds we need to make the cost almost nothing to you.