Letter: Support New Library Plan


On February 26, I attended the joint open town forum of the New Canaan Town Council and Board of Finance. There were several agenda items, chief among which was the proposal to build a new town library. The town officials invited comments from any interested townspeople, and there were numerous speakers who expressed opinions about most aspects of the project, particularly its design relative to the “1913 Library.” Among the speakers were Robert Butman, president of the New Canaan Library Board, and Lisa Oldham, executive director of the library.

Without getting into detail, the comments expressed during this forum highlighted the many important, interwoven considerations underlying the decision to construct a new library. Among these were included historical, architectural, practical, functional, aesthetic, financial and community impact. Because of these multiple influences, the current proposal has been many years in the making  Among those who developed it were several successive library Boards over the past decade. All of these Boards were carefully selected, taking into consideration their capabilities, experience, and dedication to the library and town. In addition, it is public knowledge that, along the way, the library retained Centerbrook Architects, which has extensive experience in library design.

At this point, the library has had the benefit of input from engineers, architects, focus groups and a multitude of users over many years. My sense is that we would all be best served by following the recommendations of the folks who are closest to the situation.

Specifically, I am confident that the library’s executive director, staff, and the Board have done the research to develop the optimum design to deliver a cost-efficient, state-of-the-art library that will meet the anticipated needs of many generations of patrons.

Jim Fox

One thought on “Letter: Support New Library Plan

  1. It is a shame that the Library board never consulted with the preservationists, architects , planners or historians in town to understand their point of view. Perhaps the Director remembered my (as President of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance) coming to her office early in her tenure here and explaining the position of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance. Then, as opposed to her predecessor, who came to one of our meetings with a trustee, to hear our ideas, from that moment the Alliance was distanced from the focus groups and any other meetings in which we all could have contributed thoughts, factual information, and suggestions. We and other residents were taken by surprise when we heard in January 2020 the the 1913 Library was to be demolished. I hope some discussions now may take place between the board and some of the members of the Friends of 1913 as we have some interesting thoughts that could improve the project, save some money, and preserve 1913, while enhancing the new Library complex. We must interact to protect the Town’s substantial investment and create a positive outcome.

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