Those in charge of the public library in Southington recently made their case for a larger building. Built in 1974, Southington’s library is just 21,000 square feet, and it’s obvious that the library needs a makeover.
Those who would argue that libraries have lost their context in the age of the internet should also set those misinterpretations aside and recognize that public libraries are as important as ever. At one time, Andrew Carnegie was the richest man in the world, even though he’d arrived in the U.S. as poor as one can get. He used those riches to fund a system of libraries across the nation. A library remains a place where you can feed your brain at an extremely discounted price: all you need to bring is your interest in learning.
Even casual visitors can easily recognize that the Southington library is in need of an upgrade. Executive Director Kristi Sadowski recently listed the reasons why: little quiet place to study, a children’s section that is too small, aisles too narrow for wheelchairs, areas not conforming to current fire code, internet lines limited to a single location. Others can likely come up with their own lists.
The case having been made, what remains is the question of how to go about building Southington’s library into something the town can look to with pride.
The two essential elements to start with are a plan and price tag. Yes, the building needs to be bigger, but how big and what is needed, precisely?
David Monti, a member of the library advocacy committee, put it about as well as it can be put recently: “Let’s start talking about vision, let’s start talking about a higher price,” he said. “I’m sick and tired of sitting here in this old building.”
Yes, by all means. Let’s get on with it.