Daily Freeman, October 29, 2018:
The proposal to tear down our charming Woodstock library reminds me of the awful mistake that the city of Kingston made when it demolished its beautiful post office. Kingston lost an architectural gem and an irreplaceable asset in the name of “progress.”
The present Woodstock Library board is presenting us with a similar choice: raze a building that is an essential part of our town’s history, and replace it with a characterless new one — to the tune of $5 million.
I’ve lived in this town for over 70 years, and I know that Woodstock has always valued the quirky, the eccentric, and the genuine. Let’s not replace our lovely old library with a slick and oversized new one.
I hope Woodstock readers will vote “yes” to save our library and our money by voting to dissolve the present library district. Let’s vote for leadership that will listen to us, a role that the Woodstock Town Board is willing to accept.
Yes, we can preserve the past while planning for the future. Woodstock readers should turn over their ballots and vote “yes” on Nov. 6.
Daily Freeman, October 19, 2018:
The Woodstock Library board has given no consideration to the desires and needs of area residents. The majority of people on Library Lane and the nearby neighborhood, while supporting our library, are opposed to tearing down the current building.
All residents deserve more input into what will have a major impact on traffic, parking, air quality and increased taxes created by a large budget and future debt.
Our library will not close. Services will not be discontinued.
Voting “yes” to the referendum means voting “yes” to the voice of all residents, not the agenda of 11 library board members.
Voting “yes” stops misdirected spending while new approaches can be explored leading to a better library.
“Yes” is the democratic choice.
Daily Freeman, October 17, 2018:
We fully support keeping and rehabbing the graceful, attractive, historical building that currently exists. We need a library scaled to the size of Woodstock — and that is the one that has graced the town for many years.
Those who have guided the library for a number of years have increased the taxes every year beyond the 2 percent threshold, so that regular Woodstock taxpayers are increasingly burdened by a runaway library leadership and their ever-increasing taxation. They have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars in past years on ill-fated projects, including the so-called annex, that was proposed to be built in a floodplain, and not to have a single book.
Woodstock can be a contentious town. In the current library debate, we call for polite, well-reasoned language. Those who support the status quo put such misstatements in their leaflets and on their signs. They allege that a “yes” vote on the referendum will “terminate” the library. What rubbish. If “yes” prevails, the library will not close, it will continue to serve the public, staff will continue to have pensions, and our library will continue to belong to the Mid-Hudson Library System. Three of our area’s municipal libraries (Cairo, Windham and Pine Plains) are all in the system.
The governance of the Woodstock Library needs to be changed for the good of Woodstock. By voting “yes” for the referendum, you’ll be voting for a new method of governing the library — not dissolving it, but keeping it functioning fully. The Woodstock town government has a sterling reputation as the stewards of proper upkeep of municipal buildings.
After a successful referendum vote, the trustees must make immediate arrangements for the town of Woodstock to establish a municipal library, a new charter, and to assume governance of the library, and all its property, programs and personnel.
We urge Woodstock readers to vote “yes” on the Nov. 6 referendum. It will be located on the back of the ballot.
Ed and Miriam Sanders
Woodstock Times, October 18, 2018:
There’s confusion about the fact that YES on the library referendum will keep our library, preserve the charm of Library Lane and stop the $5 – 7 million plan to build a new building out of scale with the neighborhood. YES on the referendum will do all those things.
The confusion stems from the blanketing of town with blue signs warning that the library will close if the referendum passes. The library will not close if the referendum passes, nor will the assets be seized by the Regents. The Interlibrary Loan system will not go away.
With good intentions, the trustees have overreached in their effort to provide library services to our small town of 5,884 population. When opposition surfaced from the public, they doubled down and started spending more money on it.
To those who believe dissolving the library district is a step too far, please consider that this controversy in 2018 isn’t new. The first $5.8 million building proposal was in 2007, and it was soundly rejected by a vote of 1062 to 216. If this democratic system is worth anything, shouldn’t that have put an end to it?
It didn’t – the trustees declared their new $5 – 7 million proposal nine months ago. When the architects actually got started working on it, the trustees retreated behind closed doors into executive sessions where the public could not watch or participate. That was a direct result of my attendance at all of their sparsely attended meetings, and my reporting in this letters column. We’re fortunate in Woodstock to have a newspaper that gives a voice to the people each week.
Please google “woodstock library better sense” to read my Point of View article that explains more than I have space for here.
We have a right to expect our Woodstock government to actually represent the views of the voters. We can have that if we vote YES on November 6 to dissolve the library district.