As we reported a few weeks ago, an issue arose about access to the library during school hours. This wasn’t the first time it’s come up. The matter involves the library trustees, the school board, and the selectboard. Little wonder, because in Readsboro, the building houses the school, the community library, and the town offices. In some ways, all three entities have a stake in the outcome, not to mention the population in general.
Access to the building is a real dilemma. Given the security concerns surrounding schools, it seems a multi-use, multipurpose building like the Readsboro Central School is destined to become a thing of the past. There’s good reason for it. No one wants a Columbine or Newtown tragedy in their local school, so security has to be a primary concern in any school building.
Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to avoid it. Such may be the case with the current issue in Readsboro concerning access to the town’s public library during the school day. The best solution may be to move the library out of the school building altogether. In fact, there’s a perfect building right in the center of the town
A few years ago, the Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment Committee formed to help restore a historic building in the center of the village. The Bullock Buildling, as it is known, was once the center of life in the community. The committee has been steadily working on restoring the building and developing suitable uses for it. What could be better than moving the library into it?
Think about it. By moving the library out of the school building, the first goal of making the school more secure is accomplished. The second goal, preserving daytime access for the library patrons, is also preserved.
A third accomplishment is creating a consistent use for the Bullock Building, one that will bring regular foot traffic into the building. Of course, there would have to be work done to prepare the Bullock Building, and there will be time and money to find for that.
Now think about what a boon it could be for the village as a whole. One of the keys for any downtown village redevelopment is creating a sense of community and need. Putting the library in the village center of Readsboro, in a building that has historic significance, could set off more investment in the village center.
We realize there would be costs and effort involved. Currently, we doubt there is any spare change lying around to facilitate such a move. But we know that folks in Readsboro are resourceful and could find a way, either through grants or fundraising, to make such a move happen.
But the first step is the idea. Once that takes hold, the vision can become the reality. Everyone in Readsboro could benefit from such a move. All it takes is that first bold step.