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Norwalk Public Library deserves full funding in capital budget

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On behalf of the Norwalk Public Library, I would like to offer a slight revision to the Nancy on Norwalk article from March 10 about the Planning Commission’s revisions to the capital budget.

Recognizing the City’s tight budget challenges, the Library exercised self-restraint in making only two small program-related requests: to complete the multi-year digitization of The Norwalk Hour archive at a cost of $38,000 and to modernize or “refresh” the auditorium at the Main Library, including an upgrade of the antiquated IT facilities to enable real-time “streaming” of library programs, at a cost of $75,000. The total library program-related request was only $113,000 compared to requests from other City departments of $54,500,000!

Finance Director Dachowitz eliminated both library requests. The NoN article unfortunately conveys the impression that full funding was restored for the library’s requests when it stated that the Planning Commission’s revisions “would also give the Norwalk Public Library the full $38,000 it requested, when Dachowitz had snubbed the library’s request entirely.” The Library appreciates the action of the Planning Commission to restore funding for the completion of the digitization project but we were disappointed that the Main Library auditorium improvement was not restored.

Therefore, we look to Mayor Rilling and the Common Council to continue their well-recognized support for our municipal library and to fund this important library project in the capital budget. The Main Library auditorium is the largest room in the facility and will play an even more important role hosting events in the post-Covid reopening period when some social distancing will still be recommended. Upgrading the auditorium’s IT equipment will enable the library to livestream remote access to its many concerts and lectures while also seeking to raise new revenue for the City from room rentals for business and other training events. This project was always proposed as the second installment in a two-year project with the first part funded last year and  now underway to upgrade the community room auditorium at the South Norwalk Branch Library.

 

Alex Knopp, President

Norwalk Public Library Board of Directors

6 comments

Taxpayer March 17, 2021 at 10:56 pm

Yet another thing the new high school forced aside. Upgrade the auditorium because libraries are important. Look at the new Westport one.

John ONeill March 17, 2021 at 11:39 pm

Maybe if the city didn’t have to subsidize the ridiculous Oak Hills Restaurant building there would be plenty of dough for the library…Looking back on Oak Hills decisions during Knopp era is enlightening…
The above writer proves mismanagement in the past hurts the future in ways that are immeasurable at the time.

Lee Levey March 18, 2021 at 9:15 am

As a former member of the Norwalk Library Board of Directors, I can unequivocally state that the Library is an invaluable asset to the City of Norwalk. Fail to support it now and we loose it in the future.

DryAsABone March 18, 2021 at 2:12 pm

Question…
Why did The Ferguson Library, in Stamford, receive $1,150,000. in PPP money and Norwalk Library got nothing? Who was asleep at the wheel?
Even the FRIENDS OF THE FERGUSON received $15,820. in PPP money!
And it looks as though they will be getting even more funds in the proposed budget without taking into consideration PPP.

stuart garrelick March 19, 2021 at 9:50 am

Our library has earned and deserves our support for this most modest request, no question!

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