Saturday, July 13, 2013

Vandalism at the Library


There's not much information in the police report, but on Friday July 12, 2013, the Southbridge Evening News had this:

TUESDAY, JULY 9 SOUTHBRIDGE – 4:25 p.m. —Vandalism at library.

That is in reference, of course, to Jacob Edwards Library in downtown Southbridge. Now, I know people will accurately say that vandalism occurs in many public libraries. True as that is, our concern as citizens of Southbridge is with our own library.


Our History
The first public library was established in the Town of Southbridge by public vote in 1870.  In 1872, Holmes Ammidown, Esq. established and leased space on Main Street for the use of the town library.  Through the generous bequest of Jacob Edwards, a new facility was erected on the current location of the Library in 1914.  Having long outgrown its original building, a major addition was added to the library in 1966; this wing included the current Reading Room, Director’s Office, and the Holmes Ammidown History Room.  A major expansion and renovation was completed in 2000, thus increasing the library facility to its current size of 33,000 sq. ft.

Jacob Edwards Library is one of Southbridge's biggest assets. Its history shows a long and admirable level of support as is made clear on the library website.

While I have not directly witnessed any act of vandalism personally, I have seen its aftermath.  I have also seen unacceptable behavior on the part of some younger patrons who are chronologically old enough to be classified as "young adult" and so are permitted free access to the adult section of the library. Unfortunately chronological age does not always reflect maturity, and it is too often those who lack the maturity and self-discipline who are prone to be destructive.

So what can be done about it?  Perhaps it's time for a Library Watch Group not unlike a neighborhood watch.  If responsible adults began appearing in the library in great numbers, I believe that would significantly cut down on the misbehavior and the vandalism.

Responsible young adults who use the library for legitimate purposes would welcome this. Those who are prone to act up and destroy things are less appreciative of an adult presence. They would not want to hang around.



I believe that it is time for the responsible citizens of Southbridge to flock to our beautiful Main Street in droves. Go downtown and walk. Take Main Street back.  It can be done if we do it together.