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