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July 11, 2020
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A Strong Demand

Published June 24, 2020

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Words cannot describe how saddened I am that Branford’s iconic James Blackstone Memorial Library suffered a financial setback. It is a cornerstone for Branford, providing educational resources and much more to all Branford residents.

In a 15-13 vote, the Republican majority, led by Education Committee Chairman Frank Twohill, cut $45,000 from the requested library budget for 2020-’21 over strong opposition by the Library Board of Trustees, as well as the 13 Democratic representatives. This action is troubling as Representative Twohill also serves as the RTM’s liaison to the James Blackstone Memorial Library. Clearly, additional financial stress will be placed on the library in these very challenging economic times.

The James Blackstone Memorial Library obtains 85 percent of its funding from the town. The balance comes from an endowment, fundraising campaigns such as the Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale on the green, the rental of the library for special events such as weddings, and donations.

At a time when our community is in the throes of a serious public health crisis, the demands put on the library are significantly increased. As the school year has been cut short and workers have lost jobs or have been unable to go to their workplaces, there is a strong demand for educational programs and online services. Funding is essential to meet those demands and as many fundraising events have been canceled, the ability to meet those demands has been jeopardized.

Because Mr. Twohill and the Republican majority consciously chose to be shortsighted and foolish by denying our library essential funds, I encourage everyone who appreciates this valuable community resource to show their support by contributing to the James Blackstone Memorial Library at blackstonelibrary.org or sending a check to the James Blackstone Memorial Library, 785 Main Street, Branford, CT, 06405.

Thomas Brockett
Branford

Brockett serves as RTM minority leader.