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Children share their thoughts on future of library

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD - The children have spoken.

The majority of children participating in a vote for the location of a new library in Mason Square chose the option of sharing a library space with American International College.

Last week, the Mason Square Library Advisory Committee (MSLAC) released the results from an election it sponsored among the city's school children who would be using the new library the city plans to build.

Students from five schools - Margaret Ells School, William DeBerry School, Rebecca Johnson School, Homer Street School and the Martin Luther King Charter School - cast 529 votes. The results break down to the students favoring the site closest to them.

Ranked in order of votes cast were:

  • Shared space in American International College library

  • Parkland on Eastern Avenue between Monroe and Union Streets, next to DeBerry School

  • Former firehouse in Mason Square

  • Hayden Avenue lot adjacent to Rebecca M. Johnson School

  • Shared space in the Dunbar Community Center

  • Current location at 765 State Street

  • Lot next to M.C.D.I. on Wilbraham Avenue near King Street.

  • "We, of the Mason Square Library Advisory Committee, are proud that these children had this opportunity to speak out for their neighborhood library and that they took their civic duty to vote seriously. We are grateful for the support of the librarians in each school who provided a voting place where the children could prepare and cast their ballots," Liz Stevens, the president of the advisory committee, said.

    The MSLAC is a joint effort of the five neighborhood councils that surround Mason Square, and represents a population of approximately 25,000 citizens. The MSLAC was formed in 2004, after the Mason Square Library was sold by the Springfield Museums to the Urban League. MSLAC meets on the last Thursday of every month at the Mason Square Health Center from 6 to 7 p.m., and continues to work toward restoring full library services to the people of the community.