It takes a village


To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of the Manchester Community Library. My family and I bought our first home just a short walk away from the library and have enjoyed many great experiences there. It's a wonderfully constructed space full of potential and a community enriching atmosphere. I wanted to take the time to voice my profound appreciation for the MCL and help encourage the taxpayers of Manchester to keep this valuable resource fully funded and in place.

As a parent, I have spent countless afternoons in the library with my two young daughters — currently aged 4 and almost 2. The girls love the adventure of visiting the library, reading on the giant pillows and playing with the many educational toys available there. Each visit ends in selecting a few books that we take home to read together and borrowing a DVD to watch on a rainy day. The girls have learned about responsibility through this process and are always excited to return the books as they know it's time to get more. Knowing that the majority of children in our community will attend school at MEMS within walking distance of this incredible space brings me comfort and joy. Having this sort of safe and viable community center is just the thing that Manchester needs. The options for fun places to go when the weather isn't conductive to being outside are limited, we would be at a total loss if the MCL wasn't available.

As an educator I have seen students accessing the resources in the library after school and on weekends. Many of my Burr and Burton students love to spend their free time in the Young Adult Loft, whether they are reading, studying or even playing chess. I even have a few students who have recently begun to volunteer at the library. What a great opportunity for a young person to find their place within the community. Over the past four years I have developed the Student Success Program at Burr and Burton to address the needs of our low-income and aspiring first-generation college bound population. Knowing that the library is open to all students who attend BBA is extremely comforting and indicative of the warm community atmosphere that is fostered in and around Manchester. I recently met with Betsy Bleakie to discuss a continued partnership in which we can plan programs that both support the needs of these students while also placing them in leadership roles. The MCL is clearly a vital central resource to the community that should not go unrecognized.

When you build up the foundation on a home, you raise the roof. The same is true about the needs of our at-risk students. By keeping resources like the Manchester Community Library fully funded and viable to continue implementing creative programming it creates an environment in which we mitigate the risks that many of these students face. Through this effort we can effectively decrease the greater costs that may be incurred later in their lives should they need special education, state welfare or in the worst cases incarceration. There should never be a question of whether or not we should invest in educational and community based establishments like this. The question should rather be — how much can I afford to invest? No matter what the final answer, it is clear that there will be a strong return on those investments in our future. Please, go to the polls on March 1 and vote YES for the Library's operating budget

It takes a village,

Jason Pergament



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