To the editor:
The city should ditch the plan to build a branch public library recently proposed by the director of Lawrence Public Library.
Instead we should emulate Topeka Public Library. It's not often Topeka has something we can envy, but their library has an outstanding collection, long hours of service (open until 9 p.m. on Sundays), and the highest percentage of library users per capita in the Midwest. And they have no branch libraries, preferring instead to build one strong main library. It is a prime example of how a public library in a small- to medium-sized city should operate.
Lawrence needs to put any additional cash into one library rather than spending $650,000 for opening up a new branch. The Lawrence Public Library should concentrate on buying more books, tapes, videos, magazines, posters and art prints. They also could be open more hours. Their public programs are outstanding, but their book collection needs lots of work. A branch, no matter how small, takes away from the main library. Lawrence deserves a great public library, not two mediocre ones.
If the library wants to serve every Lawrence neighborhood and outlying areas, they could buy a bookmobile. It would check out books, take special orders, and pick up returned items. The cost of a bookmobile would be a fraction of what a branch would cost.