The "New Library"
By Robert D. Warner
January 12, 2008
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
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
About: Bob Warner has 30 years of experience working in several
types of libraries including military, public, college, and university
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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