By JEANINE AUDETTE
To the Editor:
In a recent article in the Waterbury Republican on Feb. 28, Plymouth’s Mayor Merchant was quoted as saying, “The Terryville Library is by appointment only and there’s no programs.”
I am sure he must have been misquoted. As the leader of our community, I am confident he well aware the library has been a crucial resource and refuge for thousands of our community members from all demographics during this unprecedented pandemic. It is one of the most utilized sectors of our community serving more than 1,500 patrons in just the three months of November, December and January.
The library will open its doors fully this month, but during the appointment phase no patron was ever turned away at the door if they wanted to utilize its resources. The appointment only, as well as curbside pick-up options, along with extensive CDC cleaning and policy protocols, were designed to make parents and especially seniors comfortable and safe while having access to computers, hotspots, DVDs and of course books.
For hundreds, the library provides much-needed resources to help them get through the social isolation/challenges the pandemic has caused.
The library hosted a multitude of programs averaging eight per week with more than 1,168 attendees during the previously mentioned three-month period they facilitated over Zoom. For many parents, this was a lifeline for free family activities. Children distance learning had access to books important to ensure their literacy skills were maintained. This does not even count the patrons utilizing the wi-fi hotspots in the library’s parking lot or portable ones patrons can check out, discount passes to Connecticut venues, the more than 1,300 digital downloads, the Chromebooks crucial for distance learning patrons can check out and the invaluable help the library staff gives to so many of our community members in need of important information, such as assistance with tax preparation and vaccine appointments.
Again, the mayor must have been misquoted because it is inconceivable this critical resource during these unprecedented times has taken so much from so many should be in danger of having any of its full-time employees cut, as it already had its part-time employees eliminated.
I am sure the Finance Board will agree Plymouth residents deserve and need to have a fully-funded thriving vibrant community library they can count on to provide the myriad of services they need and want.
Vice-Chairperson Plymouth Library Board