Back in the mid-1980s, the Brookfield Library Board decided to build a less-than-adequate building to replace the original structure, built in the 1914.
Library officials have regretted that decision almost from the get-go. And 30-plus years after the fact, the village is left with a building that can’t accommodate the kind of programming contemporary libraries offer.
With the ghost of the 1980s lurking, officials are skittish about making the same mistake again.
Rebuffed by voters in their bid to issue bonds to build a new library campus, officials also have failed to convince the village to vacate a portion of Lincoln Avenue to build an addition across the street.
The library board is left with a plan they really don’t want, and they really can’t afford to finance that plan right now. In the meantime, they’ve saved $5.2 million over a period of years, and continuing to sit on millions in taxpayer funds indefinitely isn’t an attractive option, either.
Most of the library trustees appear ready to press the pause button, for now. Given the unsettled staffing situation at village hall, that’s probably wise.
More than ever, the library board and village board and staff need to work collaboratively on a solution.