Letters to the Editor

Library traffic

October 28, 2010


To the editor:

After so many attempts over the last few years to promote the benefits of satellite library services had fallen on deaf ears in city hall, I was surprised to read that both city commissioners and school officials recognize the need for satellites “someday” in Lawrence. But I was again disappointed that this need is to be postponed in favor of shoe-horning a single-site expansion on a one-way thoroughfare which sees as much (if not more) vehicular and pedestrian traffic as any single direction on a similar stretch of Sixth Street.

Proponents of single-site expansion tout the benefit of additional parking spaces serving the needs of a bigger building. Excuse me, but such parking would barely serve the current needs of this crowded downtown area, let alone a library expansion.

Kentucky and Tennessee Streets carry traffic to and from I-70, our hospital and downtown or central Lawrence. Drivers routinely accelerate and jockey for position within the last two blocks before the intersection of Kentucky and Sixth, where there is already a bottleneck of a park, swimming pool complex, post office and library, making this street one of the most dangerous in Lawrence. This proposal would make this two-block long bottleneck even worse and more dangerous for cars and pedestrians alike.

Satellite libraries are long overdue for serious consideration by both city and school officials, because they would distribute the particular services listed in this proposal to more suitable and accessible locations, and they would cost much less to boot.

Deborah Snyder,



Bob Forer 7 years, 8 months ago

You are absolutely spot on, Deborah. That's why I am voting "no." I am not oppposed to the idea of library expansion, just stupid ideas. ,

QuinnSutore 7 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, just like we have all these drunk voters now, not caring what button they push and trying to grope the volunteer on the way out!

John Hamm 7 years, 8 months ago

Too much money for too little gain at the wrong time. NO.

sk_in_ks 7 years, 8 months ago

The capital outlay for building a satellite might cost less than the proposed expansion (that's a big "might") -- but it seems extremely likely that running a satellite (operational costs) would cost much more than a single expanded building. With a satellite location, you need to duplicate services, which would require more staff (even at a minimum, somebody has to shelve books, help people with questions, and keep the building and its equipment running). Add to that a second set of utility payments and the need to shuttle materials back and forth between the main library and the branch, and it gets expensive quickly. And operating expenses, unlike capital costs, need to be paid year after year.

Steve Clark 7 years, 8 months ago

To SK. You are correct, the city did say they considered operating costs in all the options they looked at.

To Did_I_Say. The numbers you are using are not apples to apples. The chart in your link respresents simple construction cost for new construction and the 13 mil. you reference is total project cost including costs not accounted for in your chart and includes both renovation and new construction numbers also not in your chart.

The square footage you use to calculate the cost per square foot is wrong. The 13 mil. goes towards renovation of the entire library and for construction of a small addition which combined represent a much larger scope of work than the small square foot number you are using in your calculation.

You are using bad information. The correct information is availbable both on the city's web site AND at the library. :)

Steve Clark 7 years, 7 months ago

Details available on the City's web site.

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

Annexes are a better idea than satellite branches, and would cost much less.

For example, we could set up an annex for meeting space and reference materials in the Tanger mall - it would not require duplication of materials, or extra staff (current reference staff would be adequate), or checkout capability.

This would free up space in the current location and parking in the current lot.

Given this division, most people would most likely not have to go to both locations most of the time, and if they did, it's not that much of a trek to do so.

Operational costs should be minimal - rent and utilities.

By the way, I wonder how we're spending the $3million/yr budget now - anybody have any information? I can't imagine there aren't ways to save money with that large a budget.

CNA_Resident 7 years, 8 months ago

S_ki_ks, I appreciate your comments, but I think you are misinformed about operating costs. In my earlier LTE about this proposal (LJW, 3/21/10: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/mar... ), I cited Pueblo, Colorado, and Chandler, Arizona, as two cities (and there are others) similar in size to Lawrence with low-cost satellite libraries operating successfully. These satellites operate in partnership with local school districts. Those who say that satellites are too expensive to run and maintain are just plain wrong. Questions about student safety, annual operating costs, and building use need to be answered by investigating, rather than speculating. It makes absolutely no fiscal sense to ignore the current USD497 school enhancement study, which acknowledges the role of schools as community buildings. We really ought to take advantage of the many benefits of satellite libraries, including cost savings, before we expand at a single expansion.

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