To the Editor:

I wanted to add my congratulations on the occasion of the groundbreaking for Manchester's new public library! I regret that I was not be able to be there for the celebration in person, but I certainly share in the excitement about this project and I wanted to convey my good wishes to the library staff, trustees, and to the wider Manchester community - you should all be very proud of what your hard work and vision has accomplished.

I am often asked about the role of libraries in the 21st century and my answer is this: libraries are needed more than ever and the work of libraries in the digital age is ever expanding. And though today's libraries, with an emphasis on public internet access and digital resources, may look different than they used to, the library mission has remained constant: libraries transform lives by providing resources and services that support lifelong learning, citizen engagement and personal enrichment.

I am thrilled to see that the plans for the new Manchester Community Library include discovery and craft space in the children's area, a special room designed for middle schoolers, and plenty of computers and other technology, as well as spaces for quiet study, meetings, and providing a home for Manchester history and the Vermont Reading Partners.

Your new library will be Manchester's "third space," attracting residents of all ages and visitors to your town and region and making possible new kinds of learning and creative interaction.

I look forward to seeing the progress of your building project - and to the day when I will walk through the doors of your new library. Congratulations again on reaching this milestone day.

Martha Reid

State Librarian, Vermont Department of Libraries