To the editor,
It is indeed true that the young prefer their latest “pads” to physical books, and adults cling to Amazon items rather than library periodicals; even older folks seek websites and no longer the newspaper. Yet the town library serves many functions and is as vital as ever in the well-being of a community, such as Naugatuck. I shall list neither the host of activities that happen each week at the Whittemore, nor the variety of services offered, but rather give you my personal experience to support my statement that it is folly to reduce the funds and thereby services/offerings of our town library.
I retired less than two years ago to Naugatuck, setting up residence in a new condominium that both my wife and I love. As we explored the neighborhoods in our first months in town, I was impressed that the town has its own YMCA, adequate shopping facilities, and a town square with its park and summer concerts. However, what impressed me most was in my discovery of the Whittemore Library. Architecturally, a gem, and as I was to learn, bounding with activity. Besides profiting from the selection of DVDs and unusual books, and from the copying and fax services, I have participated in the library’s activities by exhibiting one of my oil paintings, by gleaning much in a productive writers group, and also by volunteering. Furthermore, I have enjoyed attending some of the concerts held here. During such a past winter, it was spiritually reviving to embrace the performers’ zeal. Perhaps it is just I who love a Library, but I don’t think so. Many locals I meet talk enthusiastically about it. And I can even walk there. In understatement, I am not alone in benefitting from the Whittemore.
In fact, as I talk to former out-of-town colleagues about retirement, and about Naugatuck, the subject of the library always, I stress always, comes up. The Whittemore is known around the area, even the state. I also attend activities at the Naugatuck Senior Center, which serves more of a daily need for townspeople. I have also attended adult education classes at the high school, where the classes are simply functional. At the library, I see the joy on the children’s faces after reading time; I witness the pleasure of the concert attendees. People come in with a quest, and the library usually provides the answer. Frankly, the Whittemore Library is a major reason why I want to stay in town after my recent property tax hike.
My last idea is to ask consideration for pre-school children. Throughout the state of Connecticut, the towns with constructive children’s programs have academically stronger high school students. The love of learning starts at the pre-school age, and to cut corners at that level, as the library budget is trimmed, is foolishly short-sighted.
Brian L. Denyer