Jul 28, 2014
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Library Budget - Response to Mrs. Butts

Mrs. Butts- I have hit the recommend button on your comments so more people may notice your thoughts and mine.  I  think anyone who read my comments with an open mind might have noticed that I clearly stated that I agree that the library is great right now. So yes, I love it as you do. The comments I made (civilly) expressed my concerns.  I'm so sorry that you consider that "asinine," (defined as unintelligent, silly or stupid). My comments were in no way rude, sarcastic or mean-spirited and I don't think I deserve such a response. I'm grateful that Mr. Morkan and Mrs. O'Neil's responses were professional and informative.   They may not agree with me, but they know how to string some meaningful words together. You stated, "Obviously the position of library directer [sic] is not one of supreme commander." Yes. And that is why you might notice that my latest comments were addressed to the two Library Board members who appeared to be interested. It is also interesting that you wrote, "You certainly have an opinion about everything. I guess anyone can have an opinion even if they don't know anything about the subject they are giving an opinion on." Since my comments were strictly about the library, I don't know how that could appear that I have an opinion about everything. And strangely, at the same time you charge me with having an opinion about everything, you also chastise me for NOT having an opinion about all the other departments. And also in response to those comments, it would seem that I know as much about the library as you do.  You wrote, "Maybe you live in a McMansion Karen but I work hard to live in simsbury and pay my taxes like everyone else. It's a hardship ..." I believe I very clearly stated that I do NOT live in a McMansion and that I work very hard. I also have hard choices and hardships. I do not live a remotely glamorous life, and I think that was clear. I didn't say anything about my children's days being filled with private lessons. They're not. However, I encourage my children to be as active as possible and work hard, making sacrifices to find the money for a limited number of activities that mean the most to them. I also encourage my children to be responsible, study, do their chores, volunteer, find odd or part-time jobs if they need income. My children know how to be engaged in life and don't make it others' responsibility.  They enjoy spending some time with their family, too. We have one thing in common-- I also was very disappointed that the teen center closed. But our community remains rich with culture, recreation, clubs, activities and services. Including the teen services already offered at the library. The library provides an excellent, current selection of books, DVDs, etc. for teens. And obviously, teens also access and enjoy the adult offerings. There are already librarians to help them at the information desk and plenty of computers. There’s teen summer reading specifically for them with programs, classes, reading competition and prizes. They can meet in groups to study or even play a game. They can volunteer their services- I've seen volunteers doing all sorts of activities there. And the library seems to accommodate volunteers of all mental and physical capacities. Volunteering is good for a resume, job, scholarship or college application. And of course, it teaches civic involvement, responsibility and shows them they have value and skills that matter, increasing their confidence.  If they have suggestions for teen groups, clubs, classes or programs not offered, they're free to share those with the librarians. Of course I personally don't want to see teens just hanging out at the library and needing to be watched. I don't think we should be increasing their budget for that. And I don't think the librarians went to graduate school to be paid to do that.  As a town, we don't have fun money and we can't keep adding discretionary money to every departments' budget every year. We already have known and unknown increases every year-- like contractual salary increases and rising utility bills. We have only so much money to go around. Unless, of course, you’d like to see your taxes really increase. Hard choicces need to be made. WHen the library is already loved, great and already has teen services, maybe this shouldn’t be the year they get to add extras. We spent a lot of money on the library to renovate and expand it. In my view, it has a deserved, generous portion of the town budget already. And since you brought it up, I do believe that at this time, we need the police more than increased staff hours at the library. And I've heard that one or two police officers are retiring this year. Regarding public works-- that staff keeps our buildings and parking lots clean, safe and to code. They manage all of the services the buildings need. They have a lot of territory to cover and if they have shown that they need another staff member I'd be inclined to believe them, but I'd still want to see some evidence. I believe that we should put money where it will be providing the most necessary and vital services in town, like social services-- a department that can help the people who can't afford to heat their house, or are about to lose that house altogether, the veterans, disabled and elderly on fixed budgets. If the library could increase teen services through a grant or generous donation, I'd certainly feel more comfortable about that. But I haven't heard that mentioned.  I am not anti-library. I am also not an unrealistic curmudgeon who rants, offends, attacks and complains about opinions different than mine or every item the town spends money on, and I do have faith in our Selectmen. And when people respond with thoughtful, civil dialogue I welcome it. It's supposed to be a conversation. A civil conversation. 

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