SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The "New Library" Location
By Robert D. Warner


January 12, 2008
Saturday AM

Dear Sitnews Editor:

I join many other citizens of Ketchikan in protesting the proposed new location for the public library. How could anyone with library experience support such a difficult to access and isolated location for a public library?

I find it misleading to claim that the Centennial Building was not designed specifically as a library. According to historian June Allen in a January 1, 2004 article written in SITNEWS,
"Ketchikan's Centennial Committee chose to build a library/museum complex" to honor the 1967 Centennial of the Purchase of Alaska. Certainly large sections of this complex were designed specifically for library use. Later, a annex was designed and constructed as a children's library on the lower floor.

This puzzle becomes even more confusing. Most citizens can walk through the Centennial Building and quickly notice that the current design clearly is a much better fit for a library than a museum. They will also notice that the site is a good central location for the public library in sharp contrast to the steep grade and isolation of the proposed new site.

The space currently being used upstairs by the museum could easily be transformed into expanded shelving and reading area for the library. An elevator could be installed, and public restrooms remodeled for ADA requirements. The museum's storage space downstairs could be used for library storage, work area, and a public meeting room. The building would likely need to be rewired and its heating system updated. These costs would be modest in contrast to building a new library at a less desirable site.

If one looks at the new museum proposal on the City's Web Site, the drawings show a completely reconstructed Centennial Building. It might even require that the current building be torn down. There are clearly major cost differences between remodeling and upgrading the building for the library and a complete rebuild required by the museum. We need to know what these cost differences will be.

I need to add that because of its historic value to Ketchikan, the Centennial Building should be preserved with its present design as much as possible. To destroy it or radically change its design would be a shame.

It just makes good sense to provide honest cost estimates for moving the library vs moving the museum from the Centennial Building and then let the voters decide what department should be moved.


Robert D. Warner
Ketchikan, AK

About: Bob Warner has 30 years of experience working in several types of libraries including military, public, college, and university libraries.

Ref: Allen, June. "Thanks Ladies, for the Library From Bookcase to Building(s)" SITNEWS, January 1, 2004.

Received January 11, 2008 - Published January 12, 2008


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