SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Do We Really Need a New Public Library?
By Robert D. Warner


April 11, 2007
Wednesday PM

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 Ketchikan Creek.

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 computer technology.

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
Ketchikan, AK

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.


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska