Letter to the editor: So thankful for Ilsley Library

I would like to express my deep and continuous gratitude for the people and institution of the Ilsley Public Library. In pre-pandemic days, the library was a haven and frequent stop for my daughter and me. We came for books, of course, but also for the crafts, the activities, story times, and events, and it was almost a guarantee that we would run into friends whenever we tramped down the stairs. 

But the Ilsley wouldn’t be the Ilsley without the librarians who staff its hallowed stacks. My daughter has a particularly strong connection with Youth Librarians Tricia and Lynn, and I am grateful for the presence of these women in her life as role models, and in mine as mentors. 

When the doors temporarily closed for the safety of staff and patrons, our family felt the loss deeply. Conversely, I will say one of my more heartening experiences from the depths of the shutdown was a check-in call we got from Renee. That the librarians were checking in on patrons during such a lonely time was deeply powerful and it was a gesture I will not soon forget. 

We were thrilled when we could re-visit the Ilsley in the beautiful back garden this summer and then again when we could re-enter the building itself. In fact, I remember encountering another dad in the parking lot and how we both got misty eyed with gratitude and happiness to be back inside the building. The pre-packaged activities that the Ilsley staff made available for young and old provided many hours of thoughtful entertainment in a difficult time. As a parent of a young child, it has been a real lifesaver to be able to grab a pre-packaged craft with everything in it (including a tiny packet of glue? Amazing!). 

Recently, we hosted an outdoor, socially distanced movie night with the help of the library’s outdoor projection screen set-up. As our friends commented on how great it was to share in the experience, I could only sing the praises of the Ilsley in making such an event possible. The community and resources that the Ilsley provide to the town of Middlebury and the surrounding communities are irreplaceable and invaluable.

The Ilsley forever, huzzah! 

Conor Stinson

Cornwall

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Addison County Independent