Open Letter: Public Library
By Robert D. Warner
September 05, 2007
Ms Marty West
Ketchikan City Council
Dear Ms West:
In a recent SITNEWS letter, you requested citizen comments on
the future location of the Ketchikan Public Library. Several
years ago, before the pulp mill closed, there was a study of
this issue and a recommended plan was developed. I am surprised
that there has been no apparent mention of this plan in recent
discussions. This plan included an architectural sketch of a
proposed new museum building.
The following are some of the findings that I remember from that
(1) It was a surprise to learn how pleased citizens were with
the location of the library in the Centennial Building. Many
spoke about the central location, and close proximity to public
bus service. The environment of the site near Ketchikan Creek
was considered a priceless setting. Many spoke about relaxing
in the reading area and watching fish jump. What other library
in the world could offer this attraction? The flat space of the
library site was mention as an asset for folks who like to walk
to the library. It was very clear that most library patrons wanted
the library to stay in the current location.
(2) The coordinator of the study said that the construction
and design of the Centennial Building was a good fit and conformed
to the needs of a library much better than the needs of a museum.
In other words, the building could be remodeled at moderate
cost for a library, but would likely have to be completely rebuilt
to meet museum needs. The total cost estimate at that time was
significantally less if the museum moved and the library stayed
in the Centennial Building.
I believe that a walk through the building today would indicate
a similar conclusion. One might notice that the right wing of
the building on the top floor, now occupied by the museum, would
be a good fit for expanded shelving and increased reading space.
Some space downstairs could be converted into a public meeting
area and warehouse storage for little used materials. A elevator
would be needed for ADA conformity and the wiring updated for
Before any decision is made, I would recommend that the public
be informed of current cost estimates be provided for the following:
(1) the cost estimates for moving the museum and keeping the
library at the Centennial Building.
(2) the cost estimates for moving the library and keeping the
museum at the Centennial Building.
Please note that current museum plans show that an entirely new
building would be needed.
I would like to know who made this decision to move the library
rather than the museum? For additional information, please read
my SITNEWS letter
of August 26, 2007:
Please feel free to share my views with other members of the
Robert D. Warner
PS: I do believe folks can also watch fish jump at the Renton(Washington)
Public Library as that library is actually built over the Cedar
cc: Sitnews Editor
Received September 03, 2007
- Published September 05, 2007
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