Having retired here just five years ago after 40 happy years in New Haven, perhaps I am not the best person to weigh in on a Branford issue, but I have been here long enough to know that, sitting in the center of town, the James Blackstone Memorial Library is in many ways the center of our town.
Moving here, I left behind three great museums, professional theater, a multi-screen arts cinema, the Schubert, two symphonies, and the uncountable peripheral benefits of a world-class university, but I have no regrets. I love shoreline living and my new town. However, in view of what Branford does not have, it is essential we all support what it does.
That brings me to the Blackstone. It is our center of civility—a place filled with classes ranging from technology to Latin and everything in between. It offers programs and activities for children, teens and seniors. It is a meeting place for groups of all sorts (many of which focus on making Branford an even better place). It hosts larger presentations by outside experts as well as exhibits and concerts. It is a place to see your neighbors, plan your next trip, or just read the paper.
Now the Blackstone is in the midst of a nearly $5 million renovation program to ensure its central role in the community will continue for future generations. Funding for it is a complicated mix of state, town, and private monies. At this point, the most important thing I can ask of your readers—apart from making a contribution themselves—is that they contact RTM members and selectmen and tell them that, despite the budgetary issues we face, their full and continued support for this project is essential if Branford is to remain Branford.