Politicians and citizens, librarians and state officials - all
were in Chilmark Wednesday afternoon to attend the groundbreaking for
the $2.1 million public library renovation project. But it was the
children in attendance who stole the show.


By a heavy majority, Chilmark voters this week approved plans to
expand and renovate their public library. At a Monday night special town
meeting, more than 300 voters filled the Community Center to overflowing
and strongly backed the project.

The Chilmark Public Library expansion project is the talk of the
town. Proponents of the project are scurrying about the community,
holding meetings in homes in an effort to raise the necessary votes in
the next special town meeting, scheduled for Nov. 19.

It is a more significant political contest than any
selectmen's race in years. For many it is a reminder of the
building of the new elementary school, which opened in 1999.

"I was so surprised," said Catherine Thompson, director of the Chilmark Public Library. Ms. Thompson learned last Thursday that her library was the recipient of a state grant totaling $1,108,880 for expansion and renovation.

Ms. Thompson said the library trustees had applied in January to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. "I just hoped we'd make it to the waiting list," she said.

The library trustees and other town leaders have been working for years on an expansion plan.