Candidate’s Letter: Mary Walter for Library Trustees

[Ed note: On May 8th, residents will vote to appoint candidates to five contested seats on three important boards. To help you make that decision, I have invited each of them to submit a letter to readers.]

To the Editor:

My name is Mary Walter; I am a graduate of Algonquin Regional High School and have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Clark University. This summer will mark 30 years since we have lived in Southborough. In the past I have been a member of the Southborough Arts Council and volunteered at the polls on town election days. Currently I am running for the position of Library Trustee. For many years the Southborough Library has been a valuable resource for our family, giving us hours of storytelling, reading, and media entertainment, access to the internet and passes to cultural institutions. With all of the benefits the Southborough Library has provided us and many others in town, I think now is the right time to step up and help support all of the services our library has to offer. For example, this year a new strategic plan needs to be put in place. What if our library is unable to provide the important services it has always provided? This is going to be a challenge given the current financial budget cuts.

I recently learned about these budget cuts and what it could mean to our community. According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, The basic skill of reading eludes 32 million adults. Unfortunately in February The Institute of Museum and Library Services learned they were facing deep federal budget cuts, cutting from $208 million to $23 million. This smaller amount is meant to be shared between our libraries, the Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. All of these organizations provide valuable tools toward learning and literacy. Many are available at our library through grants, museum passes, and public programs provided at little or no cost to us. It’s hard to digest what the future holds for our libraries, learning and cultural organizations. 

Learning is not a luxury. The current state of these financial cuts points us toward an uncertain future. Rather than toward a future that should be capable of providing a great library especially for our children who need it the most. This is not a comfortable place. It will take some effort and creative thinking to resolve our library’s budget crisis and strategic planning. I am ready to invest my skills and time to our library as a way to give back what it has provided to my extended family and so many other families. If you feel the same responsibility toward our library and Southborough’s future resources, please support me. Vote for Mary Walter as one of your next Library Trustees.

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