To the editor:
I read with interest the proposed and costly ideas regarding the expansion of our local public library.
While I appreciate the civic interest by the various local VIP families in this much-needed project, I heartily object to the proposal of deriving private benefit from a public service. I strenuously object to allowing private interests to in any way influence property use of a public entity. The city library must have the ability to remain independent of any attached or contiguous profit-driven commercial tenant/landlord development.
Meanwhile, the city has deemed it inappropriate to consider satellite library branches in Lawrence. In light of the many vacant buildings around town suitable for such conversion, and of the developer's "guess-timate" costs to expand the current site, I would like to see what the projected costs are for purchase and conversion of various vacant properties around town, such as the old Furr's Cafeteria sitting abandoned at 23rd and Iowa Streets, in combination with a more modest expansion proposal of our current site.
Establishing satellite offices has benefited our post office, city and county treasurer's offices, and more. All recognize the viability of building additional schools instead of adding onto existing ones. Why not our library too? Along with the development of a northwest shopping district, why not include a satellite library branch as well?