I was very interested to read Ms. Suttenfield's letter of concern regarding the relocation of the 'Shepherdstown' Public Library. 'Shepherdstown' is only a name attached to a regional library, largely funded by the State to serve Jefferson County and surrounding areas, without borders. Although it is affectionately called the "Town Library" by many, it is important to understand that while the library is located in town, it belongs to and serves a larger community.
Shepherdstown is fortunate to have many citizens who are engaged and enthusiastic concerning the library. Indeed, the library benefits from the generous efforts of many dedicated volunteers. However, there is much misinformation about the new library, its sources of funding and the decision-making processes for relocation. I have heard much of these rumors through conversations with friends and neighbors. I, too, was somewhat confused and concerned until I got involved.
I was recently approved to join the Library Board of Directors, and have attended Library Board meetings and library-related functions in the last months. This is what I have learned to be the truth.
The library must relocate because the current location and structure are insufficient to meet the needs of our current and future populations in Shepherdstown and the surrounding area. In order to maintain its community function as a 'navigator on a sea of information' a new library must contain the cutting edge technology and expertise to bring digital information to the community. It must provide enough space to allow safe and inviting access to library resources for persons with disabilities, the elderly, babies and toddlers and community groups.
The location for the new library was not determined by one person, or by occlusion. The decision to adopt the new location was made as all interested parties considered all options available, including the proposed Southern States location. Throughout the process, the Library Board was primarily focused on ALL issues that might affect the mission of the library in the community, not a particular interest group. A compendium of all the research and communication that unfolded throughout the decision-making process (6 years worth!) is public record and available in the Shepherdstown Library for anyone who is interested in gaining documented information. If you would like to learn "the truth about the library" please feel free to talk to the people who have been involved in this process since the mid-90s. They will be more than happy to enlighten you!
I am personally excited for the coming of a brand new modern, spacious, clean and green library near town. I am proud that this state-of-the-art facility, dedicated to sharing information, is being created by the good works of our citizens. The Shepherdstown Public Library is preparing for the future by thinking globally, and acting locally. How lucky we are!