I agree with your editorial that now is the time to develop a long-term solution to funding the Riverton Branch of the Portland Public Library (“City should check out self-serve libraries,” June 15). Riverton citizens were under the impression that we would have a year to formulate a plan. Apparently you were as well.

However, we were told by the Portland Public Library that the school department intends to move Adult Education into that space, an arrangement that could be in place by September, nine months early.

And while automating the facility seems reasonable, though perhaps only to people who don’t use the library, the move could hardly make up for the loss to our community by closing the branch. When that new library smell at Monument Square is gone in the next few years, Portland’s library system will be serving fewer of its citizens overall, with neighborhoods such as Riverton out of the loop. You acknowledge the library’s use by students. Has the school department considered what impact the closing will have on Riverton Elementary School, a so-called “failing” school? Will automation help?

In the same budget that provided funding for the Riverton Branch, the City Council funded a full-time multicultural position. The Riverton Branch is a place — maybe the only place outside of the school — that brings all the different people of the community together. Will automation continue that tradition?

Now is the time to act, but not on schemes to sweeten the bad taste Riverton residents are expected to endure with the closing of our branch library. The challenge before us is how do we keep the Riverton Branch intact for the next year, while finding the funding to keep it open after that.