We were deeply disappointed to watch the Republican members of the Fairfield Board of Selectmen propose a $12,000 cut to our library, and the Republican-dominated Board of Finance then fail to restore this funding.

For the past five years, our library has been significantly underfunded and we have not kept pace with inflation and the rising costs of print materials, which increase up 2 to 3 percent each year — and even more for digital materials.

Last year, town bodies had just begun to take steps to restore the materials’ budget, acknowledging that we were not where we should — or wanted to — be. The reduction this year by the Republican members of the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance’s vote not to restore the cut funds is a disappointing setback. We must remember that we are a community of enthusiastic readers and that our libraries are arguably one of the most visible and used resources of this town. They serve all incomes and ages (including the seniors we have committed to serving) and support education and literacy.

Not everyone in Fairfield is visiting Barnes & Noble or downloading books to their Kindle or iPad; a good percentage of Fairfielders cannot afford either and depend upon our libraries for these both reading materials and technology. How can we say we’re looking out for people struggling financially and then cut back a resource that saves them money? At the same time, the demand for digital materials — with higher prices forced by publishers — is growing dramatically. There is no question we have one of the best library systems in the state, so why are we chipping away at it with the certain result of eventual mediocrity?

As residents of Fairfield, we strongly urge the RTM not to make any further cuts to the library budget.

Ray and Eileen Wilhelm