Following the news of TCAPS Superintendent Paul Soma’s recommendation to close three schools in the coming years, including Old Mission Peninsula School (OMPS), I’m sure many of us are wondering how this will impact our beloved Peninsula Community Library, which is located inside OMPS.
Rest assured that our library is not in danger of going away, even in the event of the school closing (the decision is now in the hands of the TCAPS school board, who will make a final decision in March).
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Here’s a note I received from Vicki Shurly, director of the Peninsula Community Library:
As I am sure you have all heard by now, our beloved Old Mission Peninsula School is one of three schools that TCAPS’ superintendent Paul Soma has recommended for closure in the fall of 2018. First and foremost, I want to assure all of you who have sent me an incredible number of emails and texts that you will always have a public library here on Old Mission.
Peninsula Community Library is not a part of TCAPS, and while we have enjoyed a long relationship with the school district, we are a public entity separate from the school. Please know that while I have always tried to answer each of your emails and communications individually, I am so overwhelmed by your support that this mass email, as insufficient and as impersonal as it is, will have to suffice.
I cannot tell you at this point what exactly the future holds, nor can I say that it will be an easy or simple road. There are still discussions in the works with community people and school board members. The library has owned land for decades at the corner of Island View and Center Roads and if the very worst happened, we could, with your support, build a new facility.
However, I have been privileged to work with the most amazing group of community members on this issue, and this is not the time to abandon ship. In the first place, the decision to close the school lies entirely with the school board, and there is enough questioning going on among them to feel that this is not yet a done deal.
In addition, there are many out-of-the-box creative ideas being proposed by our community group, now known as the Old Mission Community Connection Group, made up of a great cross section of our community – parents, library patrons, retirees, interested citizens. Members of the Interlochen community have shared in the discussion as well.
I promise to keep you informed and up to date. When we need your help, I will ask. The library has always been and will continue to be a community center for our Old Mission community. Please know that I appreciate your concerns and your support! The fight is not over.
In the words of Josh Wunsch, when he helped the library during the move for renovations ten years ago at Old Mission School, we are a community and this is what communities do,. No matter what, we will always be a community.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb