While out and about the other day, I was surprised to see there were so few happy people. By this time, even the frantic shoppers are generally into some sort of zone that lets us smile at others, share horror stories in the long checkout lines and in general reach for the elusive sense of caring about others during this time.
I have not seen it. What I sense is that we are confused by the warm weather and no one feels ready for anything. I am never ready so this is nothing new for me, but I always found the first flakes of snow manage to put me in at least a happy mode and ready to face or do everything. Maybe that is the key; it is just too warm. Not that I want to complain though, as I have said many times, I don’t like heavy coats and shoveling, but I miss the sense of the holiday season. I hope it comes soon before everything is over.
We are busy at the library. Between all the holiday items that are flying in and out and the general use of the building, there never seems to be a dull moment. I have to admit, seeing the little ones so happy in the children’s room, the chairs in the reading room in use and the study areas providing the needed quiet space makes us feel good.
It’s hard to predict what will happen when you design a building for the future. I know there are some who call this a waste but you know, no one asks why we have the vaulted ceilings and the space. If they asked us, the reply would be really very simple.
First, when you accept $2.5 million from the state, you follow some of their rules or you lose the money. We cut the required size of the building down from the 1 square foot per resident — including projected growth rates for 20 years — but we did have to get close to the current size of the town. Hence we arrived at 29,000 square feet. It includes bathrooms on both floors as mandated by law, electrical closets with the space required to prevent fires and, of course, all the area needed for the protection of patrons from potential problems generated by boilers and the rest of the HVAC.
Then came the roof. Want another flat roof with all its problems? To get rid of those problems we went to a pitched roof. As everyone knows, height makes a room look much bigger. To make it cheaper, we used the acoustical steel ceilings and didn’t put in a second layer. We could easily have put in a dropped ceiling under it but why spend the extra money? Now all the heat rises to the point and then escapes overnight. We could have saved money by removing the 1922 building and just making this a box, would that have pleased anyone? I doubt it.
Since we opened in May, we have welcomed almost 2,000 new or returning residents of the Dracut community to the library. You have to be a Dracut resident to get a library card and we have given out almost that number. If there are close to 30,000 residents and last year we had 17,000 on file, it looks like more than half the community is using the library. Not a bad ratio. For those of you who don’t like books, videos, music, newspapers, magazines, programs, audio books, book clubs or children’s activities or have all the money needed to insure that you have your own personal library, then the library is not the place for you.
For the rest of the population, we are so happy to see you. Come visit any time, we will do the very best we can to save you money and provide what services you request. Happy holidays to all of you and may you find happiness, kindness peace and contentment in your homes at this time.
Susan Schwarz is the director of Dracut’s Moses Greeley Parker Library.