Do We Really Need a New Public
By Robert D. Warner
April 11, 2007
Dear Sitnews Editor:
The latest boondoggle over building a new public library building
is both laughable and tragic. It looks to me like someone really
wanted to build a "castle on the hill" at public expense.
Why isn't the public library staff aware that books and library
shelving are very heavy? More important, who made this questionable
decision to move the city library from the current facility,
which is already constructed to accomodate the weight of library
books and shelving?
During the 1980's the city hired a consultant and appointed a
citizen's committee to study and make recommendations concerning
future use of the Centennial Building, which currently houses
the library and museum. It was determined that basic design
and construction of this building was much more accommodating
to needs of a library, and that the museum should be relocated
if more space was needed in the future. The public supported
this central location for the library with its unique view of
If the museum moved, the Centennial Building could be remodeled
at modest cost to better serve library patrons. Remodeling would
include installation of a public elevator and rewiring for future
Design concepts for a new museum were also prepared during this
study. It was suggested that a new museum might be located in
empty space west of the Federal Building. Combining the museum
with the Heritage Center was also mentioned. Recently, a citizen
suggested that the old Ketchikan hospital might be a good site
for a new museum.
Since the beginning of the current "planning" to move
the library to an expensive new facility, there has also been
much misinformation. For example, at their web site describing
this project, library personnel claim that the library "RENTS"
the current facility. However, the Centennial Building is owned
by the city and the library is funded to pay its share of cleaning
and maintenance costs. No "rent" payments are involved.
Significantly, the library staff has never addressed and documented
the need for more space. With advances in computer technology
and little or no population growth, why would the library need
so much more space to shelve books?
It is tragic that public funds have been wasted on basic knowledge
that city library staff should have known from day one. I believe
it is time for the city to refocus on basic needs of this community
rather than unnecessary luxury. Taxpayers need a break!
Robert D. Warner
Received April 11, 2007 - Published April 11, 2007
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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