Archive for Monday, March 27, 2006

All-purpose library?

A new Lawrence Public Library should serve a variety of purposes, but it doesn’t have to duplicate programs that already exist.

March 27, 2006

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It's important that efforts to make the Lawrence Public Library a centerpiece of downtown don't result in a facility that duplicates and competes with existing resources.

The possibility of such overlap was illustrated in a charming photo in Thursday's Journal-World of a father and daughter participating in a library event called "Explore Art." The pair looked like they were having a wonderful time, but the nature of the program raises questions about how far the library should go in competing with the Lawrence Arts Center, which many people already consider to be a "centerpiece" of downtown.

The "Explore Art" event was offered free of charge, which the arts center may be unable to do, but as library planners consider how much gallery space and lecture/performance space to include at the new library, they need to consider what already is available at places like the arts center. There's no need to duplicate existing facilities - nor should a new library be a shrine to any library or city official.

Library planners and city officials are right to think outside the box and consider every possibility as they plan for a new library. It should be a facility that draws many people for many reasons, but it doesn't have to fill every need.

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