Thursday May 2, 2013

The question isn’t whether or not to make Ramsdell Library in Housatonic accessible, the question is -- when? By law, it should have been made barrier-free more than 20 years ago when the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed. As it stands, it is one of the very last public libraries in Massachusetts which is not accessible, not only to the second floor theater but also to the first floor book collection.

The residents of Housatonic and many library supporters from Great Barrington have made it clear: keep Ramsdell Library open. It is not a "branch" library, it was donated in 1908 by mill owner Theodore G. Ramsdell to the people of Housatonic and is a gorgeous, neo-classical building which is the anchor of the village. The second floor is open space where community theater, concerts and classes could happen if the electricity, climate, exits and accessibility were improved.

Town Hall has postponed this project over and over again but recently proposed a $2 million project that the library trustees think is too expensive and unlikely to pass.

Our plan, to start small, reorganize the space, rethink and redraw much more modest plans for phased improvements, can begin immediately with your yes vote on the last three articles, 31, 32, and 33, at the Great Barrington annual town meeting on Monday. Please stay until the end of the meeting to vote yes to pass these three important articles.

HOLLY HAMER

Great Barrington


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