To the editor:
April 30 marked two years since the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives reopened following a major renovation — only the second one since our doors opened in 1864.
It's hard to believe how quickly those two years have flown by. Then again, we've been busy serving our friends and neighbors like never before! Since the renovation, attendance at the library is up 73 percent; visits to our Procter Museum & Archives of Stockbridge History have increased by 83 percent. We've launched new initiatives like our Cookbook Club, Film Series, Berkshire Chamber Players Concerts, a Teen Advisory Board, Littles Library Time, and Builders Club for Kids. In the Museum & Archives, we have added evening hours and mounted special exhibitions, including collaborations with Berkshire Theatre Group and the Stockbridge Fire Department. We've offered special programs on timely and important topics such as Consider the Source: Truth and News in the Misinformation Age and our recent series on sexual assault in partnership with Elizabeth Freeman Center.
Each day, our meeting rooms are used by members of our community, from Berkshire Waldorf High School students and OLLI special interest groups to Literacy Network volunteers and a group of widows who gather to talk and support one another. Our friends from St. Paul's Children's Center, the Austen Riggs Preschool, and Riverbrook visit us weekly.
Our mission is to be a vibrant center of community life in Stockbridge. We began our renovation and capital campaign process with this core value in mind, and it continues to inspire us each day. We deeply appreciate our volunteers and our donors who give generously of their time and resources to ensure that we can continue to flourish and fully serve our community. At a time when funding for libraries across the country is so often threatened, we are fortunate to have the support of individuals willing to engage with us, and when needed, advocate for us.
We also appreciate the votes of our fellow Stockbridge citizens at each annual town meeting in favor of the town appropriation for the Library, which is crucial to keep us in operation.
From time to time, as I reflect on the work that we do, I am reminded of a line from the film "A Field of Dreams:" "If you build it, they will come." Well, you have come, and for that we are sincerely grateful. Keep coming, keep connecting, and keep learning with us. We're all the better for it.
The writer is director, Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives.