SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Public Library Location
By Robert D. Warner


August 26, 2007

Dear Sitnews Editor:

Terri Jirschele's recent letter titled AN IDEAL LIBRARY LOCATION is an excellent discussion of this matter. Who made this decision to move the library and keep the museum at the Centennial Building site? To the best of my knowledge, we have never been told.

Unfortunately, the public has been handed too much misinformation and distortions by current library management. Some examples are:

(1) We have been told that the library rents space in the Centennial Building. This is false. The Centennial Building is owned by the City of Ketchikan and both the library and museum are city departments.

(2) We are told that the Centennial Building was not built to house a library. This statement is also incorrect. Historical research by June Allen and others indicate that the Centennial Building was constructed to meet the needs of both a library and museum.

(3) Library management states that a new library building is needed to accommodate a projected Borough population growth of 46% over the next 20 years. How do they determined this when official State of Alaska
population estimates show a slight decline from current levels in the Borough for a similar period?

(4) We are also told by library staff that the building is not properly wired for computers and does not comply with ADA Standards. While this might be true to some degree, most public buildings with similar issues can be remodeled for compliance at far less cost than constructing new buildings.

Most citizens can walk through the Centennial Building and quickly recognize that it is a good design and fit for a library. On the other hand, if the museum was to stay in the building, it would require a major
refit, or construction of a totally new building. Citizens also emphasize that the current location is excellent for a library.

The sad part of this matter is that it was addressed during the 1980's. The results were almost identical to what Terri Jirschele outlines in her letter. It was clearly determined that the museum should relocate and the
Centennial Building remodeled to fit the needs of the library. At that time this option was also less expensive; a design sketch for a new museum was prepared. Isn't it strange that the city and library management have
never provided citizens/taxpayers with this information and current cost estimates for both alternatives?


Robert D. Warner, MLS
Ketchikan, AK

Received August 21, 2007 - Published August 26, 2007


Related Viewpoint:

letter An Ideal Library Location By Terri Jirschele - Ketchikan, AK

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