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Letters to the Editor

Library’s value

July 1, 2007

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To the editor:

Langston Hughes, author and favorite son of Lawrence, wrote in "Big Sea" that he fell in love with librarians who "help(ed) you find wonderful books! The silence inside the library, the big chairs, and long tables, and the fact that the library was always there and didn't seem to have a mortgage on it, or any sort of insecurity about it - all of that made me love it."

Some characteristics Hughes valued could be lost in our community because the library is overcrowded with limited ability to serve our increasing population as evidenced by long checkout lines, overworked librarians, few quiet corners and lack of parking. What if there had not been an adequate library? How would Hughes' life have been different?

Many people rely on our library for their reading, reference and entertainment. Recently I was in the library at 5:30 p.m. and counted 37 people walking in the door within 10 minutes. These were fathers with young sons, single people, elderly and teenagers. There were whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans - all within 10 minutes. Surely our library must provide our children and adult population with knowledge available to all.

I worry that people who question the need for an expanded library have not availed themselves of our library's services. I challenge them to spend half an hour finding books, music, videos, magazines and their neighbors in the Lawrence Public Library. An expanded public library will show that Lawrence values education, learning, reading and a vibrant democracy.

Diane Low,

Lawrence

Comments

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

In general I support the need of improved library space no doubt about it. Likely it could have happened until others decided a superdome should be part of a tax deal. Guess former Lawrence politicians felt taxpayers would roll over and scream out yes more taxes please. Sorry no way.

The Chamber parking space at 8th& Vermont could be taken up two stories for additional parking which might not cost $10,000,000(million) as the library underground parking was estimated. Walking is good for us.

More space could be added on both the east and west ends of the library which is no doubt feasible as architects can be quite creative. It has been decided that the the building was not designed to accept further additions directly on top. The other day someone suggested that the city owned the empty space next to the Art Center which is news to me but that would be an excellent location which has tons of on and off street parking in the area plus coffee shops.

Before spending millions of tax dollars,when I thought we were broke, on a Farmland deal I would suggest repairing streets,sidewalks and allowing our library to grow and improve. We know there is a genuine demand in these areas. Maintaining existing resources is a best bang for the tax buck. If we are looking to promote some new light green industrial into Lawrence it might help if it were obvious that Lawrence,Kansas is capable of caring for exisiting resources rather than allow them to fall into serious disrepair aka responsible management.

*I am not concerned that each and every street be smooth and wide as that promotes speed.

*Wider sidewalks on 6th,9th,13th, 19th,Mass st., Kentucky and Tenn would be nice for safe cycling and pedestrian traffic. The west side has improved walks with new construction.

  • The library needs improved whether it is at its' current location or 9th and New Hampshire.

Let's repair and/or improve existing infrastructure which has been ignored long enough before taking on more. The eastside hike and bike trail has been on the table for at least 4 years so again let's finish some projects first.

OnlyTheOne 7 years, 6 months ago

"long checkout lines, overworked librarians, few quiet corners and lack of parking." More efficient checkouts. More staff Redesign the interior Ride the T, carpool or walk more than 50 feet.

peppermint 7 years, 6 months ago

I use the library at least 2x per week and it has never been uncomfortably crowded. The checkout line gets longer approaching 9 p.m. but never more than a 3 minute wait even then. Maybe 5:30 is a busier time, as it is everywhere.

I know the library says it needs more shelf space. Let's expand the library to the east and west and give it to them.

peppermint 7 years, 6 months ago

Reality_Check says But is the city commission listening to us? Not if posting here is all we do.

Didn't you read what someone posted in here? Mayor Hack was overheard to say the CC meetings should be moved to Tuesday afternoons so as not to overburden the commission with public comment.

peppermint 7 years, 6 months ago

merrill said It has been decided that the the building was not designed to accept further additions directly on top.

But... but... if it were expanded to west & east, those wings could be made to support a second floor - at the very least, a second floor over the new additions,and possibly over the entire structure. With the new basements that would be 3 new floors on 2 small new wings. Architects are creative - some are even brilliant. I say open it up to competition (not give the job to some commissioner's friend) and see what architects come up with.

oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

marion said: ". . .when I thought we were broke. . ." .. Since Marion is not a resident, perhaps he was meaning "when I thought you were broke"

Sigmund 7 years, 6 months ago

Any increase in library service should be accomplished with a branch system. Branches allow a for incremental expansion, do not attempt force everyone into a crowded downtown, spread their benefits into all areas of town, and would act as "neighborhood community centers." Existing buildings can be rehabbed or new ones built if needed. As the population waxes or wanes in various neighborhood branches can be adjusted to changing populations.

The $35-$70 million library was both a scheme to enrich developers and an attempt to drive shoppers to downtown merchants. Given this unholy alliance it is surprising that the scheme met such a quick and untimely demise. But just like any good horror flick, I expect we will see it come back to life to terrorize the taxpayers of Lawrence once again in the sequel.

peppermint 7 years, 6 months ago

oldgoof (Anonymous) says: marion said: ":when I thought we were broke:"

Uh, that was merrill - not Marion - huge difference.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 6 months ago

peppermint wrote "Didn't you read what someone posted in here? Mayor Hack was overheard to say the CC meetings should be moved to Tuesday afternoons so as not to overburden the commission with public comment."

And it certainly could not have been posted in this Forum unless it were true!!

Honestly, the attributed quote doesn't ring true in my ears. I haven't heard or seen independent corroboration (such as a quote in the LJW). By the time we read it here, it is hearsay, and I didn't put much stock in it. Still don't.

Confrontation 7 years, 6 months ago

How much of the overcrowding is due to the homeless camping in the library?

overthemoon 7 years, 6 months ago

What if someone had been thinking ahead when building Free State High and renovating LHS...and made their libraries accessible form the outside of the building so that the could be used as branch libraries? I have it on good authority that the school libriaries are underused, their collections are woefully inadequate to support student research beyond the most basic, Now, if the school libraries were tied to the downtown library with interlibrary loans, shared resources, increased collections that would support not only students but those that use (or would use) the downtown library they would create a more vibrant library setting that might actually get used. Staffing? All those scholarship and National Honor society applicants that need volunteer hours could dig right in!!!

Then the sports facilities could have been community based as well, negating the need for an another doomed to fail al-'sports venue. Seems to work with the aquatic center at Freestate....

Of course, as our schools have been planned this is an impossibility...and yet another missed opportunity.

Godot 7 years, 6 months ago

" Anonymous user

max1 (Anonymous) says:

http://www.lawrencian.com/index.php?opti:

A Library Plan that Fails to Satisfy by Jerry L. Harper"

Thank you, max1, for posting this link. I did not know about it before, but I could not agree more with Jerry Harper.

Well done, Jerry.

peppermint 7 years, 6 months ago

Wilbur_Nether (Anonymous) says: peppermint wrote "Didn't you read what someone posted in here? Mayor Hack was overheard to say the CC meetings should be moved to Tuesday afternoons so as not to overburden the commission with public comment." By the time we read it here, it is hearsay, and I didn't put much stock in it. Still don't.

Of course it is heresay, and was posted as such. If they really do move the meeting time to afternoons, you heard it here.

Sharon Roullins 7 years, 6 months ago

I work part time at the Library and I got hired right before the proposed budget cut. There is currently a hiring freeze as well as a freeze on hours. Even with the technology and computers that have become so much a part of our lives, people still do utilize the library. I would definitely like to see the Library grow but I don't know how fortunate that decision will be. Yes, I know there are other "pressing"issues prevelent in Lawrence, but someone being displaced or losing their job should be just as important.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 6 months ago

"http://www.lawrencian.com/index.php?opti:

A Library Plan that Fails to Satisfy by Jerry L. Harper"

A good read!

Our librarian so far as I know has not been against satellite libraries. It was revealed by a board member one evening at a CC meeting that $10,000,000(million) of the cost is for underground parking which is the most expensive so I was informed. If my memory serves me well an early estimate in the LJW for a library was 17 million

Give away the existing building in any deal = bad business sense.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 5 months ago

Kookamooka says: I really think the Republican party is trying to move in here to "straighten us out". Ignorance is one of the best ways to control people. Developers have priced a new library out of our city's reach. Pretty soon, the only information we get at all will have to be gotten through one media source. Oh wait. That's the way it really is. Sorry LJW.

That would explain why so many reich-wing posters in here do not even live in Lawrence. I cannot imagine their motivation, unless they have a financial stake in Lawrence business, or they are trying to change the face of Lawrence for the reasons you state.

Kansas truly sucks. Lawrence is the only habitable place and it is being dragged down by the rest of Kansas.

Kookamooka 7 years, 6 months ago

Should we let West Lawrence become it's own city and build their own new fancy library everyone can use? They could also take care of all of their development needs and infrastructure issues,too.

Not being from around here, originally, I had no idea how "hated" Lawrence is in Kansas. As the only bit of Blue in a sea of Red, Lawrence is not the most popular town in the state. I really think the Republican party is trying to move in here to "straighten us out". Ignorance is one of the best ways to control people. Developers have priced a new library out of our city's reach. Pretty soon, the only information we get at all will have to be gotten through one media source. Oh wait. That's the way it really is. Sorry LJW.

Eileen Jones 7 years, 5 months ago

The Journal-World is too pro-developer to do responsible journalism on local issues.

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