To the Editor:

On Nov. 6, residents of New Milford will have an opportunity to vote to proceed with the long overdue expansion and renovation of their public library. This letter is to urge support for this much needed project.

It has been over 40 years since our library was last updated, making it one of the last in the state to consider modernization.

Libraries of today are virtually unrecognizable from libraries of 40 years ago.

In addition to being traditional repositories of learning, current libraries are asked to serve as community centers and to provide a wide range of facilities for meeting, gathering for public events, public sharing of technology, emergency refuge and many other services.

As an architect and a volunteer at NMPL, I have had a lifetime of affiliations with public libraries, and can vouch, first hand, that our current facility is woefully outdated and in urgent need of expansion and modernization.

The key word in any library’s name is "public.” Other than our public schools and various public safety departments (fire, police, etc.), there is no institution more fundamental to the well-being of any town than its public library.

It is here that many of our children’s eyes are first opened to the wonders of reading, learning, and interacting with other children.

It is where many of us adults continue the pursuit of knowledge, are afforded the joys of reading and research, and enjoy the camaraderie of relationships formed at the many public events sponsored by the library.

I have witnessed over my entire adult life a sad and progressive movement to devalue the importance of investment in public infrastructure and facilities.

Consequently, it is no secret that many of our roads, bridges, public utilities, parks, and towns and cities and their facilities have fallen into almost third world disrepair.

Sadly, the NMPL has gradually become a victim of this shortsighted trend.

We in New Milford have an opportunity on Nov. 6 to reverse this process, at least with respect to our much loved and used, though sadly outdated, Public Library.

This library is the heartbeat of our town. I urge everyone to look to the future of New Milford and agree to invest in the proposed NMPL expansion by voting “yes” on Nov. 6.

Sam Callaway