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April 18. 2013 1:32AM

Derry's Taylor Library gets lots of love


Emily Pearson and her daughter Riley voiced their support for the Taylor Library to the Town Council on Tuesday night. (ADAM SWIFT/Union Leader correspondent)

DERRY - In his five years on the Town Council, Neil Wetherbee said he has never seen the type of outpouring of support as he saw from the supporters of the Taylor Library.

Dozens of residents packed the council's meeting room on Tuesday night, and for over an hour during the public forum, supporters young and old spoke in favor of keeping the Taylor Library in East Derry open. In the budget proposal forwarded to the council by Town Administrator John Anderson, Anderson recommended zeroing out the library's proposed $176,000 budget for fiscal year 2014.

Many mentioned the role a smaller library plays in creating a sense of community and providing an important resource for children and adults.

After hearing from the library supporters, many of whom were children and their parents, Wetherbee made an unusual move, polling the council to see whether there was support for the closing of the library. Five of the seven councilors said they would not support closing the library, while the other two stated they would not make a final decision until the budget presentations, scheduled for later this month, had been completed.

"This is a highly unusual circumstance," said Wetherbee. "In my five-plus years on the council, I have never seen a public outpouring like this, and I don't think there is a consensus to close the Taylor Library on the Town Council, and I would ask that we alleviate your fears tonight."

In addition to Wetherbee, councilors Brad Benson, Tom Cardon, Phyllis Katsakiores, and Al Dimmock said they do not support closing the library.

Benson noted that he has been a patron of the library since the 1960s.

"I would never support closing this library," he said.

Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks and Councilor Mark Osborne said they wanted to hear both sides of the issue before making a final decision on the closing of the library. The budget workshop for the Taylor Library is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30.

"There's always one," said Osborne. "The only promise I can make to anyone is that I want to hear both sides of the issue. I have not made up my mind, but I will vote on this. We owe it to Mr. Anderson to hear why he made the decision he did."

During the introductory presentation of the budget to the council earlier this month, Anderson said he believes the Derry Public Library is better positioned and able to provide the services desired by Derry's residents today and in the future.

Several of the residents who spoke Tuesday night said the Taylor Library fills a need that the larger Derry Public Library cannot.

Ray Fontaine said that when he moved to Derry a decade ago, the library was the first place he sought out.

"It's all about the community, and we want our children involved in the community," he said. "This is the reason so many parents and children are here tonight. There is something intangible that you can't get at a bigger library."

aswift@unionleader.com


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