Do We Really Need a New Public
By Robert D. Warner
May 07, 2007
Dear Sitnews Editor:
I believe Ketchikan citizens would be much better served if the
city hired a qualified library expert to draft a plan to remodel
the Centennial Building for public library use. Judith Anglin's
Sitnews letter of April 21, 2007 addressing the need for a new
public library creates more questions than answers. Why does
she think that the library should move from the Centennial Building
rather than the museum? Can this be justified in terms of benefits
and costs to taxpayers?
Ms. Anglin indicates that "the Centennial Building was not
designed to be a library." However, according to a 2004
Sitnews article by June Allen, during the 1960's, Ketchikan's
Centennial Committee chose to build a library/museum complex
to celebrate the 1967 Centennial. While there is little dispute
that both the library and museum can benefit from more space,
a 10 minute walk through the Centennial Building clearly shows
that the building was designed to fit the needs of a public library.
It is actually somewhat similar to the famous Carnegie library
layout which continues to be popular a hundred years or more
after being developed.
Anglin claims that "due to the original design, retrofitting
the Centennial Building into an efficient, handicapped-accessible
library will not work." Why? What facts support this conclusion?
While such a claim might be valid for the museum, it is a serious
error to conclude that the building cannot be remodeled for the
library at modest cost to taxpayers.
There is also reference to 300 people showing up for a library
program. Does the current library administration prefer the
luxury of not using other available local facilities already
built with taxpayer money for that purpose, such as the civic
center or the high school auditorium? Why should the public
library sacrifice essential space needed for books, computers,
and quiet study for a large meeting room for as many as 300?
The public must realize that this issue is not a single cost
project. If we build a new public library we must also be prepared
to pay for the cost of building a new museum. On the other hand,
if we build a new museum, significant savings can be made by
remodeling the current Centennial Building for the library. We
clearly do not need any more boondoggles.
Robert D. Warner
Received May 07, 2007 - Published May 07, 2007
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
we need a new Public Library? By Judith L. Anglin - Ketchikan,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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