Like many other Rutland area residents, I, too, love the beauty and history of the current Rutland Free Library building. I have many fond memories there: Reading books with children while their parents participated in classes upstairs; insightful Vermont Humanities lectures; family-friendly indoor golf events; the biannual Meet the Authors/Table of Contents celebrations; the 2019 first Murder Mystery evening; and, of course, the famous book sales.
However, as someone who served on the RFL board of trustees for six years, I know the tremendous challenges of the building’s costly upkeep and ongoing modernization. Similarly, efforts to reconfigure its space to support increased technologies, broader access and specialized programming, all essential for 21st-century libraries, proved difficult.
Admittedly, the former CSJ library does not have the same architectural beauty and rich history, but it will allow the Rutland Free Library to operate with greater fiscal efficiency and contribute to its long-term financial security. Equally important, it will allow the RFL staff to develop/expand certain services and designated spaces, i.e., appropriate area and programming specifically for teens.
Beyond this, I am excited by the prospect of having an additional and inviting “hub” in our community, and for the opportunity for greater intergenerational interactions. The CSJ campus will soon house not only the Rutland Recreation Community Center, Community Health Centers of Rutland’s Call Center and RFL, but also Heartland Communities of America’s continuum of care development. Just imagine the possibilities, and all within this large and lovely campus.