For more than 100 years, Lithgow Public Library has played an important role in the lives of central Maine residents.

The library is a center of learning and a safe harbor for youngsters to gather and a meeting place for the entire community.

I host my constituent meetings at Lithgow Library.

It is impossible to dispute that a major investment in the library is needed. In the last decade, many communities in Maine have invested millions of dollars to update and renovate their libraries. Now, it is our turn.

I support the new approach taken by the Friends of the Lithgow Public Library to accomplish the critical renovations and expansion. This investment will position the library to serve future generations. This public/private partnership will reduce the anticipated debt for the city of Augusta.

The current Lithgow Capital Campaign effort to raise $4 million in private funds will ensure a balanced and responsible approach to completing this $8.1 million project.

When I was mayor of Augusta, my opposition to library referendum was based on the funding mechanism and strategy that was being proposed. I was concerned about the level of debt that Augusta would assume in a time of very tight budgets and staff reductions.

I was in the uncomfortable position of opposing a referendum question that many of my friends and neighbors supported.

A renovated and expanded Lithgow will result in a state-of-the-art facility that will include a new youth services area, a separate teen area, new study centers and a new community meeting room .

I urge area residents to join me in supporting the effort to expand and renovate Lithgow Public Library.

Sen. Roger J. Katz

Augusta