, Salem, MA

February 7, 2013

Letter: Library a gem

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

This letter is in response to the article “Repairs overdue at library” on Tuesday, Jan. 29.

I was deeply saddened and angry after reading comments by our elected officials in regards to the Peabody Institute Library. “Is it a gem?,” “Is it a money pit?” asked Mayor Ted Bettencourt and City Councilor Jim Liacos. There were also comments made by other city councilors about the library’s importance to the city of Peabody.

After reading the article it became very clear to me that these same people who question the importance of the library have never patronized or bothered to look at the diversified programs and valuable services it has to offer.

Is it a gem? Yes, it is, a historic one! The library was opened on Oct. 18, 1854 thanks to the $20,000 donation by George Peabody. Its architecture is priceless and it holds many beautiful paintings and artifacts inside. I’m wondering if any of these officials have actually ever set foot in the Sutton Room? The Sutton Room is breathtaking and simply put . . . outstanding. The Peabody Institute Library is a gem that embodies the spirit of Peabody’s historic beginnings.

It is true that we live in a brand new technological society that has changed the way we live. These same technologies can be found at the library and may be utilized for free to the general public. It is wrong to assume that every household in Peabody has immediate access to a computer. If these officials actually went inside the library they would clearly see that all the computers are being used by the public, all day. It isn’t just computers either, the library has many other technical modalities as well.

It is inconceivable to me that the officials who represent Peabody have not noticed how many incredible and important programs the library has to offer to the city. They have amazing programs for children, young adults, and adults put on by a dedicated and friendly staff. During the summer the children’s room, in conjunction with Haven from Hunger, runs a program called Lunch on the Lawn. This program provides free lunches to young children who otherwise might not eat due to financial circumstances. I would say that’s pretty important!

One other valuable resource inside the library is the staff who work there. They are extremely helpful and knowledgeable. They can answer and help with almost any question or problem that you may have.

A city the size of Peabody not having an up-to-date library is like Pizza Hut not serving pizza. Peabody Institute Library ROCKS!

James R. Sirois