Archive for Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bigger library

March 18, 2007


To the editor:

Proposals for the public library range from improving the existing building, to adding satellite branches, to constructing new buildings to house the library and post office at a cost of $30 million.

Lawrence should enlarge the existing library. A second story could accommodate more meeting space, a revenue-generating cafe, and a rooftop patio and garden.

I don't feel the library is inadequate. My family uses the library several times a week. It is never uncomfortably crowded, parking is easy and the services and collection are excellent. The location, close to the post office and shops, is perfect.

Comparisons of Lawrence's public library with cities of similar size must acknowledge that it is augmented by the libraries at KU, available to any Kansas resident.

A library or post office at the Riverfront Plaza would be more difficult to access via the curvy portion of Sixth Street - even more so with the resulting increase in traffic.

The cost of new buildings would far exceed the tab for construction: Taxpayers also would be stuck with the recurring costs of staffing, managing and maintaining the new buildings.

We need creative solutions that recognize these are lean times for taxpayer dollars. A solution that saves $20 million and works for 10 years might just be the right one.

Developers can be counted on to propose solutions that are highly profitable to them. But who should decide for our city - developers who stand to profit, or the taxpayers who will foot the bill?

Em Jones,



Moderateguy 11 years ago

So Em. Can I assume that you are a structural engineer and have determined that the foundations, columns, and roof can support your additional floor? Do your plans include having the library in operation while you add this additional floor?

JohnBrown 11 years ago

Perhaps the Library Task Force ought to look at how the Topeka Library is organized (governed) and study that library's history.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Actually it was stated a second floor could be done at a high dollar cost. I believe it went something like this "Anything can be done if we're willing to pay for it".

The lobbyists I believe are Library Board Chair John Nalbandian and Mayor Amyx both former mayors and city commissioners and through developer dollars Mayor Amyx was able to make a comeback.

Em Jones is thinking a very good ideas. I say expand on the east and west ends two or three stories and get on with it....for 17 million or less.

Sell both parking lots to developers on the eastside 700 block of Vermont so they may add more parking for their Eldredge Convention Center with THEIR money. If their retail scams are such great ideas they will no doubt make some dough NOT with taxpayer financing of any sort OR on the back of our excellent city credit rating cuz taxpayers cannot afford anymore bail outs such as the Tanger and Riverfront Plaza.

Jackson 11 years ago

I seem to recall the present library was designed to accomodate a 2nd story.

The original architects will know.

KsTwister 11 years ago

"Comparisons of Lawrence's public library with cities of similar size" The problem is Lawrence wants to show off a better library than bigger cities like Wichita,Topeka and Johnson County. Kind of a flaunt it if you have it mentality. But taxpayers in Lawrence are getting their wallets tapped enough at state and local levels. I don't want and my kids don't want to pay for a monolith to City Hall commissioners. The satellite facilities would better serve and better save most of the $30 mil we don't want to spend. Remodel if you must but enough is enough.

Godot 11 years ago

I wish the LJW would do a background story on how the findings of the Library Task Force were transformed into the endorsement of the Fritzel project by the Library Board.

What, again, were the findings of the Libary Task Force? Did the Library Board ignore them, and, if so, why did they?

KsTwister 11 years ago

Library Task Force:

The riverfront consideration that was withdrawn:

I like to call it caviar on a peanutbutter Budget. The pictures are self explanatory.

Tom McCune 11 years ago

Folks, just a point of information.....

I worked on the existing library building and I'm 99% sure it was not designed to support a second floor. (The basement level was originally left unfinished for expansion. That space has now been finished off.)

If you think I'm wrong, ask Dick Peters or Jim Williams. They were the architects of the existing building.

If we can send a man to the moon, we could probably modify the existing building to accept a second floor, but it would be very expensive and would completely disrupt the existing library for at least a year while the work was in progress.

bearded_gnome 11 years ago

Please, no coffee shop in the new library! just because Topeka has one doesn't mean we have to keep up with the Jones' [excuse the pun].

there are massive numbers of coffee shops, a wonderful tea shop, etc., downtown and we don't need the library's "sip and flip" competing. also don't need the coffeeshop atmosphere in there.

convention center, yes. continue meeting space in the library in its new incarnation, yes. expand the children's reading area, yes. Parking is sometimes a problem in the library's lot when the pool is in session. fix that.

armyguy 11 years ago

The stupidity of some of people in this town shocks me, more every day. Why is downtown so god awful important? While it is nice, I don't go often because parking is always an issue and prices for goods or services are expensive. I have been to the library but find that the traffic and paying for parking is a waste of time, money fuel etc.

The community does not need a huge library downtown.. The citizens of this community would be better served with a branch or two. There are several large commercial building in town for sale at around a $1,000,000. For the estimated $30,000,000.00 or more they could put several branches around town so more people could use them.

Lawrence is no longer a small rural town that revolves around its downtown.

KsTwister 11 years ago

I agree hawk. The paper just touches on an issue and Voila , we get a new building somewhere(like the new school at South Jr High which is going up now) or a roundabout or probably an unrealistic library renovation. Go figure. Lawrence almost deserves getting swindled out of its money because it is certainly close to criminal.

budwhysir 11 years ago

With all these people in the library, how does anyone get any books checked out, I mean wall to wall people you couldnt even move

Godot 11 years ago

bearded_gnome, I am surprised, ney, shocked, that you would support a city owned and operated convention space! However can that be justified?

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

It's the library board that makes the decision not our librairian. Bruce Flanders is not against satellites however a lot of duplication takes place as a result. Consultants advise they are not efficient. Bruce Flanders does not need replacing so far as I am concerned. Library work space is cramped and hell yes updating is in need. Do something sooner or pay more later. At this point I say expand on either end rather than pay through the nose for a second floor retrofit... Or the River Front or the Vacant lot at 9th and New Hampshire where parking is now available.

Convention center on private dollars because the holidome, Springhill Suites and KU have convention space that could meet Lawrence demands. KCMO metro and Topeka have more in hotels/motels,foods and entertainment.

Godot 11 years ago

The day that Bruce Flanders gave a quote to the Lawrence Journal World that the Fritzel library proposal was justified because it was an economic stimulator for downtown was the day that he should have been fired.

The Librarian should be a librarian, not a prognosticator, nor stimulator, for future downtown business interests.

KsTwister 11 years ago

If satellite facilities are inefficient (by duplication) according to "consultants" then why don't the consultants recommend separate facilities for research material and children's reading? They surely could see that the public library was duplicating what is already at our schools and KU libraries but failed to make that point . Maybe they are consulting for the benefit of the builders? You know they are.

bearded_gnome 11 years ago

my dear Godot, I apologize as my prose above was so succinct as to be unclear. I would never encourage a city/public owned convention space. was simply identifying that there's a downtown need for large-scale convention space...and yes it oughta be privately operated!

hope that helps sr. Godot.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

The Fritzell proposal/ design was a board decision. One board meeting I attended the board had not yet determined staff needs and this was after the four designs had been presented to the public.

More often than not staff anywhere will come out in support of their BOD decisions.

The largest headache in doing on site expansion is temporarily relocating the library probaly for a year at least which means rent money.

KsTwister 11 years ago

True, they could use the Alternative High School as a satellite library---it is paid for you know just like the India School building. There might be enough savings to fix these roads so people won't need SUV's to survive them.

jafs 11 years ago

Why not use some of the existing space in the Tanger or Riverfront Malls for site-specific annexes?

For example:

A chidren's section/av materials annex. A reference/computers non-circulating annex.

These would not duplicate anything, would free up space in the current library and help with the parking issue, and use some existing space which is just sitting there.

In addition, they would be close enough to downtown that folks who needed to go to several places wouldn't be unduly inconvenienced, and structured so that might be minimized:

Parents could go to the annex, get children's books and videos.

Researchers and computer users could go to the non-circulating annex.

Folks who just want books could use the downtown building.

I imagine the costs of renting a couple of spaces and staffing them would be vastly less than any of the proposals.

jafs 11 years ago

I live near and use the East Lawrence rec center on a regular basis - why do you think it should be closed to make space for a library?

Using existing spaces makes more sense to me than building new buildings - both from a cost standpoint and a space one.

Spaces in both malls have been vacant for some time - isn't it possible the city could get a decent rent for a couple of them?

I share your feeling about making more money for the rich property owners, but the alternative is spending a lot of taxpayer money up front, also not something I'm in favor of.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years ago

hawkperchedatriverfront wrote: "You think the JW would disclose how much..." and then lots of things I think the "hawk" probably stays up late at night wondering about.

Actually, one would think nothing of the sort. What one would think, however, is that if the "hawk" truly wanted to know the answers to these questions, the "hawk" would contact the appropriate government agencies under the KORA and get the information.

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