The Greenfield Leek

City Council weighs new library proposal amid bloom of Little Free Libraries

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By Donna L. Duck

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

As signs have gone up around town stating “New Library, Yes!,” City of Greenfield residents may have also noticed new Little Free Library boxes pop up as well. At least three new libraries have appeared recently in neighborhoods and parks around town, including one downtown in front of the Baker Office Supply.

At the City Council meeting held last week, councilors weighed the proposal for building a new library at a cost of an estimated 14 million dollars in light of the preponderance of Little Free Libraries within city limits.

Representing the progressive bloc of the council, Councilor Garfield Wheeler stated that “The Little Free Libraries are clearly a grassroots protest from the community showing the unmet need by the current library.”

Countering for the conservatives, Councilor Isaac Masthead indicated he spoke for all legitimate Greenfield residents, those who have lived in the city “their whole lives if not more,” when he commented that the appearance of these little libraries proved private institutions provided the solution to this problem.

“Why raise taxes for a new library when private citizens are putting little boxes in parks and in their front yards?” said Masthead. “Who needs a new library when this way, we can have a chicken in every pot and a library in every yard?”

On the issue, the rest of the council appeared to fall down ideological lines except for Vice President Nickelle Ricketts who remained noncommittal and said she needed to hear more from her constituents before she could make any decision.

Councilor Briquette Alice,who recently filed papers to run for mayor, declined to take a stance on the library proposal, but indicated he would oppose whatever position Mayor Phil Martian took on the matter.

During public comment, Council President Rudy Ruettiger garnered some heat from the small crowd in attendance for, again, changing the location of the meeting and she promised yet another special meeting to discuss the same topic. It remains to be seen how many Little Free Libraries will arrive before then.