Ramsdell report calls for focus on arts, youth, collaborative spaces

By Christopher McDermott

HOUSATONIC — The Ramsdell Library should strive to offer something unique, with a smaller circulating collection but more collaborative space and services focused on arts, local history and youth programming, according to a report by consultants hired to study the 100-year-old historic library.

“Housatonic, a former mill town, has lost most of its public facilities in the recent decades,” reads the report by Kimberly Bolan and Associates, LLC. “The Ramsdell Library remains a landmark, beacon and a primary gathering place for residents of the northern end of Great Barrington and, in particular, for the residents who live in the village of Housatonic.”

The firm reviewed Ramsdell’s facility and services: they conducted a survey, interviewed stakeholders, conducted a total of eight community forums and compiled a vision forward for the library. They advised library leadership see Ramsdell giving the community something distinct from the Mason Library on Great Barrington’s Main Street.

“It should be a different approach to library services,” library trustee president G. Patrick Hollenbeck said at a recent trustee meeting.

The trustees will be bringing back consultant Robert Cullin from KBA to give a presentation at the Unitarian Universalist Church, neighboring Ramsdell, on August 14.

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