Let the library be

Dear Editor:

If a person only read the letters in support of the proposed multimillion-dollar library expansion, they would think that poor little Aspen must have a tiny, pathetic library. But no. We actually have a handsome, brick, 32,000-square-foot, well-stocked library. Our library has three levels – of books, meeting rooms, offices, study areas, a children’s library, a teen library, a music library and a computer area.

The library has more than 20 librarians, a $3.5 million yearly budget and a more than $5 million endowment that can be used for interior remodeling and high-tech enhancements, etc. What more do we really need? I understand that it’s already the largest public library per capita in Colorado. I have heard their reasoning, and I just don’t get it.

In my humble opinion, I feel the already-in-place endowment of $5 million should be sufficient funds for any desired upgrading or remodeling of the current beautiful library we now have. The newly proposed 28-foot-high “flying buttresses” – what is with those? Is the Flying Nun coming in for a visit?

And, yes, this expansion will have an impact on the Hudson Reed outdoor theater area we all enjoy so much.

With all that said, our library just doesn’t need to be bigger. Aspen has other child-teen areas now – the Rio Grande Plaza, Aspen Recreation Center, the Red Brick, the high school and many other meeting arenas.

We also have the soon-to-be-old Aspen Art Museum for additional city use. When will Aspen learn to leave well enough alone? Bigger and more expensive is not necessarily better. I simply can see no justification for an additional $20 million expansion. The only ones who would truly benefit would be the hired architects, builders, designers and other construction personnel. The librarians would also then probably need a “much needed raise” – I use the phrase facetiously, for those librarians already earning between $90,000 and $121,000 annually.

I strongly urge voters to vote “no” on 5A and 5B in the November election. We just don’t need this additional multimillion-dollar debt and an additional raise in our property taxes.

Patty Simpson



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