As a long-term Rockport resident, I have been a regular patron and enthusiastic supporter of the Rockport Library for more than 35 years. I was one of the original founding members of The Friends of the Rockport Library and over the years have participated in dozens of library programs and events. I feel that our public library is one of the town’s most important and impressive assets and applaud and thank the library staff for the fine work that they do.
Recently, I have become concerned with the direction the Rockport Library Committee is taking with its proposal to build a new and much larger public library. I wonder if we are proceeding too fast with a plan that seems to be based on very little research, as to the need for a new and much larger facility, and that we are ignoring the results from recent Library surreys and focus groups that indicated a clear majority of people want the Library to stay at its present location.
Contrary to Library Committee claims, current zoning ordinances do allow for expansion and improvements to the existing Library building. We should spend the time and effort to fully investigate the true potential of our current library site before committing to spending millions of dollars on a new building at a new site.
There are also many questions as to the true cost of building, furnishing, and maintaining the proposed new library. How will we pay for it? How much will our taxes go up? Also, what will happen to our existing library? What effect will this move have on the Bok family deed to the Library and Memorial Park properties?
On Tuesday, July 23, at 7 p.m., the Rockport Select Board will be holding a public workshop session dealing with issues related to the proposed Rockport Library move. I hope that this meeting is well attended and that it will address these questions and focus on a broader range of alternatives than have been presented so far.
James Ruddy lives in Rockport.