The Gardiner Public Library is the best way for Randolph residents to access reading materials and many other library services. That goes double for the town’s students, particularly during the summer, when school is out of session.

And at just more than $17,000 a year, it is a bargain.

Randolph voters should approve the spending at Wednesday’s annual town meeting, so residents can continue to use the Gardiner library uninterrupted.

Last year, the library spending article met some resistance by residents who want the town to use the $17,000 to reimburse for memberships at any library, not just the one in Gardiner. The Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee are recommending the same this year,

In response, Gardiner passed a three-year ban on issuing library cards to people not from the five communities that pay to be a part of the library.

So if Randolph votes to kill the Gardiner library funding, residents will not be able to use the library in the coming year.

There seems to be some acrimony between the two sides, and that is unfortunate.

Randolph officials are right to look at every dollar and how it is spent, but they are on a path that would prevent some residents from accessing a library, or force them to go farther away, to Augusta, which will soon be undergoing a massive renovation.

Instead, the town, the library and School Administrative District 11, which includes Randolph and Gardiner, should work together to make sure more residents take advantage of the service.

According to the library’s director, some of that work is already underway. Given time, that will create a stronger regional library, for everyone.


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