|I MY LIBRARY
U SHOULD 2
|With the help of a local coffee enthusiast (moi?) the Friends of the
Bridgewater Public Library now offers Bridgewater
Brew from Dean's Beans. It has been a very successful fund-raiser
so far, and I encourage residents and other library supporters to
participate. Contact the library or the Friends for details about
ordering this excellent coffee. Of course it is delicious, organic, and
|On the day following a town
election against library services, our then-10-year-old made this sign
and posted it on our
front door. I view it as an indictment
of all of the adults in town who could not overcome our
squabbling long enough to save the essential services of a library. We
are now -- by far -- the largest town in Massachusetts without a
To their credit, the dedicated trustees and librarians have prioritized public services, and continue to provide as many services and hours as possible. Although far from appropriate for a town our size, the services are far more than we deserve. Visit the BPL web site to see what hours and services are currently available.
|Library license plates proposed for sale in
Massachusetts would raise awareness of the importance of libraries and
provided much-needed funds. Such plates will not help Bridgewater
Public Library in the short run, since it is not currently certified as
part of a state system. But I hope Bridgewater residents will join me
in signing up for these plates, because libraries everywhere are
important -- and I have faith that BPL will eventually return to the
Please note that plates are not yet available -- this is a pre-order process to determine interest.
These were some thoughts I posted on the library's blog following the "wake" for the Bridgewater Public Library, held September 18, 2007, a few days after people in the town of Bridgewater voted to cut most public services, inlcuding the library:
What is wrong with our town? What kind of place kills its library?
What has happened to all of the rhetoric about caring for children and valuing education? More to the point, what happened to all of the flag-waving and patriotism that erupted six years ago? Remember late 2001, when people claimed to care about their country, their community, and their neighbors? Where did all of that go? Did it blow away with all of those cheap plastic flags, because people did not mean any of it?
What do we tell our children? I am embarrassed for children -- my own or others -- to see me these days, because I am a Bridgewater "grownup" who could not stop the civic suicide of this town. What are we going to tell those teenagers skulking about town claiming there is nothing better for them to do, now that there really is nothing better for them to do?
Boston is the home of public libraries in America. Bridgewater is the home of public education in America. Both of these are the bedrock institutions of a healthy democracy. This is not a good time to be letting go of democratic institutions.
When will we make this better?
|See also: February 7, 2008
library loses state certification. You can comment on this story at
|A couple of weeks later, voters partially reversed the damage. At town meeting on October 9, 2007, voters approved a plan that will keep the library limping along through June 30, 2008. The plan, proposed by the library trustees, relies heavily on the personal sacrifices of many dedicated librarians. My fear at the time was that some people would consider the problem solved by this stop-gap approach. It turns out, sadly, that I was correct.|