Editor’s Note: The following was written and submitted last week as a letter to the Pinehurst Village Council by numerous signatories. Those names are listed at the end of this column.
We are writing as current and past board members and supporters of the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives. Collectively, we have served as stewards of the library and archives for more than 100 years. We are writing to encourage you to work cooperatively with Given/Tufts to separate the library and archives, so that both may reach their full potential.
We would like to acknowledge and thank all the private donors who, for more than 50 years, have made free library and archive services available to every resident of Pinehurst. This started with substantial gifts from the Given and Tufts families, and continues right up to this day when most of the expenses of the library and all the expenses of the archives are covered by private gifts from charitable members of our community.
We would also like to thank the mayor, council and staff of the village of Pinehurst for undertaking a serious study of library services. This issue has arisen on several occasions since at least the early 1990s. But the current mayor, council and staff in just a few months have moved the ball further than any others, and we salute and encourage your progress.
The Given/Tufts organization is a single private nonprofit entity created in the 1960s and governed by an all-volunteer board. Audrey Moriarty, who is much loved in this community, is single handedly responsible on a day-to-day basis as head librarian for the library, archivist for the archives, overseer for the bookshop and executive director of the organization. For many years, this form of organization was effective in maintaining the library and archives, but we believe the time has come to revise the current structure.
Since the 1960s, the village has grown tenfold, and the number of families with children residing in Pinehurst has increased at an even faster pace. But the library and collection have stayed the same. Not surprisingly, the result is a library and archives that have fallen far below our reasonable expectations for a world-class community like Pinehurst.
We urge the village of Pinehurst to address these issues now, and without delay. There is a significant risk that the current library and archives will fail in the not-so-distant future due to lack of sufficient private funding.
On the good news front, this is an excellent time to act. There are opportunities now available, which may not be available in a few years, to substantially improve the lives of Pinehurst residents.
The endowments of the library and archives are still intact, having weathered many storms over the last few decades. This will not be the case in the future, as the library in particular is becoming more and more dependent on withdrawals from the endowment to support current operations.
We know that Given/Tufts has written to the village offering half its endowment, and all of its library collection and other library assets, as a gift to the residents of Pinehurst if the village will take fiscal responsibility for library services.
We think that residents should know of this substantial gift. This seems like an important piece of information for Pinehurst residents as they make up their minds about the library. What other village of our size can open a new library with a seven-figure endowment and a gift of more than 15,000 titles? Only in Pinehurst.
Just as important, there is a very real possibility for expanding the archives into a full-fledged museum of Pinehurst. We believe that Given/Tufts can garner private support for the creation of the museum of Pinehurst, which should draw attention to our amazing place in the history of golf. The residents of Pinehurst would benefit greatly from this enhanced amenity, but no taxpayer dollars would be required for this separate undertaking.
The current board and staff of Given/Tufts are eager to address the challenges faced by the library and archives. We encourage you to work cooperatively with them. Given/Tufts will be an excellent partner for you in this public/private endeavor.
We urge you not to get bogged down by secondary issues, such as the precise location and square footage of a new library, the village’s National Landmark status, the possibility of a small amount of support from the county of Moore, or the status of the bookshop. The village staff seems more than capable of working through these second-order issues. Southern Pines has an excellent library which is widely admired and effective, so why not Pinehurst?
This is our call to action:
n The village should work cooperatively with Given/Tufts and be a catalyst for separating the library from the archives.
n The village should take fiscal responsibility for providing library services, this being a traditional governmental function.
You will open the doors of a first-rate library. You will also be making room for a first-rate museum of Pinehurst. This should be your proud legacy.
Signatories: Diane T. Westbrook, Given/Tufts board president; Stuart Mills, board vice president; Jim Fisher, board treasurer; John McLain, board secretary; Bill Callison, past president; Audrey Moriarty, executive director; Tom McPherson, past president; Pat Corso, past president; Patrick Barry; Claire Berggren; Ed and Sally Bold-Frick; Anne Callison; Bill and Lisa Case; Matt Chriscoe; Brantley and Meredith Clifton; Judy Corso; Carty Davis; John and Evelyn Dempsey; Peter and Susan DeYoung; Mark and Mary Edwards; Charlie and Lulu Eichhorn; Elizabeth Fisher; Jean Funderburg; Ken and Nancy Geddes; Bud and Karen Greene; Michelle Goetzl; Byrd and Molly Gwynn; Bruce Hironimus; Peter and Anne Holmes; Tom and Betty Hurst; JJ and Nancy Jackson; Emily Jones; Richard and Carla Keating; Jan and Marjorie Ludwig; John May; Dane and Judy McCaffrey; Mike and Kelly McCrann; Liz McLain; Brian and Konni McMurray; Kathy McPherson; Jim Moriarty; Robert and Julie Neff; Randall and Susan Phillips; Sam and Dootie Poole; Gil and Christine Pritchard; Ron and Patsy Rhody; John and Bonnie Root; Rich and Betty Rycroft; Hal and Marie Schneider; Kris Spence; Drew and Ann Steidinger; Ollie and Wanda Sweeney; John and Jo Williams.