March 15, 2005

Framingham’s New Library Is Dead

While gathering a strong majority of Town Meeting members, the proposal to build a new McAuliffe branch library in Saxonville once again fell just short of the necessary two-thirds vote. We needed 100 votes, but got 95. After five years and tens of thousands of dollars already spent, the project is dead.

The short-sightedness of this decision is simply breathtaking.

Framingham has officially lost a $1.6 million grant -- money that many other communities will be more than happy to use for THEIR library projects. We've guaranteed that a large portion of our community will have dramatically inadequate and inferior library service. We've lost a chance to create a wonderful anchor destination for a neighborhood on a place that's now just a sea of asphalt. For just 6% of our capital budget, we've blown the chance for a facility where people could sit and read, attend programs, do research, use the Internet ... and instead, we have our aging, tiny, trailer-like building, not much more than a stationary bookmobile, handling 30% of the town's circulation demand (despite its comparatively pathetic collection) with just 10% of the space.

If I hadn't been there myself to see it, I wouldn't have believed the town would end up doing something so foolish.

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