A New Public Library or Castle
on the Hill?
By Robert D. Warner
January 12, 2008
Dear Sitnews Editor:
There have been several excellent SitNews letters recently critizing
the decision to build a new public library at Ketchikan's old
Main School site. Who made this decision to move the library
rather than the museum? The public needs clear and professional
economic analysis of possible locations for the library and for
the museum. Why haven't citizens been given such basic essential
information to consider? They are entitled to full information
to verify whether it is the museum or the library that should
move from the Centennial Building. Have we actually reached the
time when a move is necessary?
The old Main School site is likely the most isolated and hard
to reach area downtown. There are few places to park in the area
and the spaces available are in high demand by citizens needing
access to the State Office Building, Police Station, etc. The
steep terrain is dangerous to walk or drive during the winter
months. There is no public bus service to the site. Would the
museum consider it logical to move to this hilltop?
Is the current library director capable of providing the community
with careful, honest, and complete professional cost analysis?
Why has this director failed to consider and analyze the assets
of the current location? What justifies this drive to build a
castle on top of this hill? What data analysis of primary purpose
and economics has been prepared and presented to the public for
their evaluation? What are the cost differences between moving
the library versus moving the museum from the Centennial Building
to a new site?
From what I can determine, it would be far less costly to remodel
the Centennial Building to be a library than rebuild it for a
museum. We need to know honest cost estimates for each: The library
project and the museum project. The bottom line is that we are
not going to have one without the other. Who is going to pay?
What were the cost estimates for each of the sites that were
considered? Will both borough and city residents be taxed for
When we as taxpayers pay a library administrator over $70,000
per year, we are entitle to clear and realistic professional
cost estimates and evaluations for all of these alternatives,
including the alternative of doing nothing. Where are they? If
this director is not capable of providing this essential information
to the public, the city should hire a library director who can!
With many questions and few answers, I believe it is time for
citizens to learn facts about these issues before any additional
steps are taken.
Robert D. Warner
Received January 10, 2008 -
Published January 12, 2008
About: Bob Warner has 30 years
of experience working in several types of libraries including
military, public, college, and university libraries.
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