As you all must know, I am in support of saving the 1913 library building as part of any new library building project. I firmly believe that this building is not only one of the best architectural edifices in our town, but it is an integral part of so many generations’ cognitive experiences. Due to the universal public use of this building for a variety of purposes and its location, it has been labeled, in the past by the library itself as the “Cornerstone of Our Community.” I firmly believe as do many that destruction of this town’s cultural, historical and architectural landmark will be forever be seen as one of the worst decisions our town ever made.
We are in strange and uncharted territory with unknown outcomes and consequences occurring at an unprecedented pace. Your dedication and commitment to our town governance and the current budgetary decisions is beyond admirable. I know that you will take our times and the future financial forecasts into account as you make these decisions. I also know you will carefully consider all financial materials presented to you upon which these decisions are to be made.
As a citizen of this town, a taxpayer, a lifelong student of history, and an experienced architectural preservationist, I ask you to carefully consider what you are being asked to do at this time. I ask that in your consideration of the immediate and pressing ask of the New Canaan Library, to fund 30% of the construction of a new library you acknowledge that included in that funding is the demolition of a beloved town landmark. I ask that if Town Council does vote to approve requested funding of the new library project, that included in that funding is the granting of a year to consider the fate of the 1913 library building.
I have submitted a number of letters and public statements on behalf of the Friends of Our 1913 Library to Town Council concerning this matter. I hope that these and the letters and statements of others in support of keeping the 1913 Library in place will not fall on ears which will not listen.
The decision you make on this matter should be made taking two elements into consideration. First, do you have all the pertinent financial material upon which such a decision should be made. Second, do you wish to be part of a decision to obliterate what has been a pivotal part of our town’s identity and a cultural landmark for generations.
Please as you consider this matter, dwell on a quote from one of the most admired, renowned and beloved architects of all time, William Morris. He famously stated, “These old buildings do not belong to us only, they belong to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our own property to do with as we like with them. We are only trustees for those that come after us.”
Rose Long Rothbart