To the editor:
We encourage the City Commission to authorize a public vote on library expansion. The demand is real; evident in increasing numbers of budding entrepreneurs, community groups and our neighbors and children who use the library.
New libraries nationwide have seen dramatic increases in patronage. Contemporary libraries are not the libraries we grew up with. Now, they are places where children and teens do homework and are tutored, where entrepreneurs have access to databases not available on home computers, where adults enjoy book clubs, where community meeting rooms and programs are available, and where younger children benefit from an array of programs. In short, the library has become a community center, a rare location where people from all walks of life and all ages come together to learn, to think, to deliberate and to enjoy.
Our library is located at the center of our community — downtown. Within the last decade, the library proposed to meet expanding demand with branches or a storefront presence. The library board took that proposal to the City Commission which decided — wisely we think — that the library helps anchor our downtown and future investments in library services should focus on its present location.
We think 10 years is long enough to debate library expansion. Citizens of Lawrence deserve the opportunity to tell us what role our library will play in helping to define Lawrence’s character today and shaping its future.