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Do you think Lawrence taxpayers should pay $40 million to $70 million on a new library?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 9, 2006

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Photo of Anna Schirer

“Yes, I do. I use the library a lot, and I think it would be a good thing to spend money on. I don’t see how anyone could think it was a bad idea to create a better place for kids to learn.”

Photo of Steve Wilson

“Compared to all of the other stupid stuff the city could spend money on, a library sounds like a good idea.”

Photo of Kristine Werth

“I guess it would depend on what they put into it. They should expand their media to include as much information as possible and not just spend money on what they think people need to learn about.”

Photo of John Gammill

“Yes, I do. I think it would benefit the whole community.”

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lunacydetector 11 years, 7 months ago

4 out of 4 say YES!!! so we must make it so.
or was it 4 out 50 say YES??? or was it 4 out of 100 say YES???

i wonder if josef "the king of propaganda" goebbels would be proud?

well, let's see....the people were asked downtown.

why not ask the people of west lawrence since west lawrence pays the majority of the property taxes and sales taxes?

fair is fair after all.

i cannot believe 100% are in favor of spending $40-70 Million on a library that services 1100 people per day.

gimme a freaking break.

Andrew Juby 11 years, 7 months ago

Do I think a new library should be built? Yes.

Should it be one of the ridiculous plans that have been suggested so far? No.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 7 months ago

Yes, but given current modes of planning and the way the city spends money these days it will likely be an ill thought out plan.

Moderateguy 11 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely not. As I understand it, the library board has stated that they need something like 140,000 square feet for their new facility. That is rediculously HUGE. Do we need a library downtown likely larger than Super Target? First, require the library board make a reasonable request, then we can talk. This will end up coming up for a vote, and I'll be voting no on the fancy internet cafe for the homeless.

cms 11 years, 7 months ago

Two additional questions they should have asked: are you a permanent resident of the city of Lawrence and are you a homeowner?

It is very easy to say yes when you are not paying for something.

RustyShackleford 11 years, 7 months ago

I'll bet cms and lunacy miss the o, so subtle irony in things like the Colbert Report. "That guy's right on," they'd say. "About time someone's speaking the truth."

If you don't like public resources funding a fuhreaking library maybe you should go back to Johnson County or Topeka. The town's library says a lot about it and it is arguably the most important service a municipality provides. I understand many Second Districters ("West" and "Lawrencian" are just too hard to stomach) see no utility in an educated public, but one can really judge a place solely on this resource.

And get over yourselves on the taxes. If polled, I wonder how many Lawrencians would be on board with that plague of McMansions you folks dumped at the edge of the only place in Kansas worth living in.

I don't get an option with my federal tax dollars and I'm stuck with my part of the bill for the insane policies of the jackals you guys put into office. We'll call it even and improve the Larry library. Have you been to it lately? The staff are wonderful and they do what they can, but for a town with the history, money and culture (for the last part of that, you'll have to venture WAY east of Iowa) of Lawrence it is a pretty sad state of affairs.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 7 months ago

My hometown, a city of well under 10,000 people, is in the midst of a $9 million library expansion. They're putting up an 18,000 sq. ft. facility (a new structure combined with the historical structure that used to house the library).

I dislike the project for two separate reasons. First, I think the structure looks too big for downtown Chelsea (it doesn't feel like it fits, especially in size but also a little bit in looks); second, I would rather they had left the historical structure alone and found a new site. (They gutted the inside and attached the expansion to the back of the building. I hate that they gutted the inside, but I also think it looks silly to have a modern building slapped on the back of a classic building.)

Besides that, the local school district is in the midst of trying to cut $2 million from their budget. Couldn't we cut $2 million from the library construction project instead?

So from my perspective, I'm not looking fondly upon the proposed $40 million+ library project there.

craigers 11 years, 7 months ago

No way, that is way too much money for a place few people actually use.

paladin 11 years, 7 months ago

We've already gone round and round about this, before, at length. And we said, in no roundabout way, "NO, you may not build a new Megalibrary, as proposed!" And, here the issue and the question comes round once again. Seems like we keep going around in circles, disoriented, with no clear direction, and that the city Daddys are trying to get around us and go where they want, anyway. Ain't that the way it always goes? Daddy knows best.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 7 months ago

Has anyone else noticed the job advertisement that occasionally appears at the top right of the page? It says:


Do we really want drivers getting loaded?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 7 months ago

"Get up, dead horse, get up I say! whack, whack

I use the library about 6 days a year. (That's being generous.) I'm an avid reader but I prefer to own my books or borrow from a friend who isn't running the timer on me. I realize that many people do, in fact, use the library (for lots of things;)) but $40 to $60 mil. C'mon. Why are we trying to keep up with the Jones' when we can't afford to? I guess it beats another roundabout that the simple minded drivers of Lawrence don't seem to know how to use. Maybe the new library could include a teaching room set up for "roundabout education?" In that case, I'm in favor of it! Did I just go full circle??? Oops, coming back around now. NO! We need to be like trees...think BRANCHES!!! (Kind of funny if you say that in an ogrish accent and plop in the word "Donkey") "Libraries are like trees, Donkey. They have branches." Sorry all, I'll go take my meds now.:)

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 7 months ago

My two cents:

New library: good idea.

$70M for "uber-library": Bad idea.

Just build a "library". Not everything has to be an architectural masterpiece. Make it functional. Put books and computers in it, maybe a big room with a video projector for presentations. A corner where the hippies can do sock puppet theater. Wireless internet. I've got nothing against the wine and cheese crowd, but this should be a library, not an arts center.

Ceallach 11 years, 7 months ago

Thanks anyway, MD. I stopped on the way to work -- thought I would make mine "decaf" today :)

Even on decaf I can't agree with the recent proposals and pricetags.

ms_canada 11 years, 7 months ago

I thought we went through this a while back. It seems like an awful lot of money for a smallish city like Lawrence. Why does it need to be so large?

craigers 11 years, 7 months ago

Sunflower_sue, those are some large library proposals there. Do you think he's compensating for something? Eh?

KsTwister 11 years, 7 months ago

We don't need a Trump Tower in Lawrence,it would most likely be as empty as the last folly of Tanger Mall. If the streets were fixed, the sewage plants built,new businesses coming to Lawrence then it may affordable----but right now it's a joke.

cutny 11 years, 7 months ago

I kind of liked the idea of expanding the existing library. Quite the group of complainers we've got today. It's for the PUBLIC. It's paid for by Taxpayers. I own a home in Lawrence and I have no kids, yet my property taxes pay for the schools. Do you hear me complaining about it? I think not, young man. It's part of the social contract you enter into as an adult. Stop griping about every dime the Commission wants to spend. Lawrence is a beautiful because partly because of the sense of community that places like a library and a public pool help bring about. Even if you don't use these facilities, stop with your selfish me, me, me attitude about not needing or wanting them. There are hundreds of crappier towns than Lawrence for you whiners to live in that don't have libraries, pools, or parks. Maybe you'd be happier in one of them.

cutny 11 years, 7 months ago

yeah it could have used a bit of proofreading, but you get the idea.

optimist 11 years, 7 months ago

This library plan brings back memories of the municipal golf course that we so badly needed so that golf was affordable and available to the masses. Then the project went over budget and the price is outrageous and run more like a country club than a municipal golf course.

A $40-$70 million library is just plain nuts. I'm not opposed to a plan that could increase the size of the library and bring it up to date but no way should this community spend that kind of money on a library.

Let's spend $10 million on practical improvements and pay the librarians a little more and be done with it.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 7 months ago

Good morning everyone!!!!!!!!!

I believe I have mentioned this before, but here goes again.

I spoke to someone who works at the library and they told me that when the library was built, it was built in a way that it could go up. Building another library elsewhere is crazy when the one we have can go up one, two, or three levels. The library sits in a prime location ( near downtown ) so why spend money on building a new one.

Parking is a drag if the city would build our seniors a beautiful new senior center ( maybe next to the art center ) that would give up space needed for parking. I believe our seniors would love to have a new bigger building and it would also be close to downtown like it is now. Using the space for parking is needed for the library.

When the pool was put in I don't think anyone was thinking about parking for both the pool and the library. When people who use the pool park in the library parking lot, it leaves very little parking for library users. I go to the library every weekend for the following weeks themed lessons. If I can't get a parking spot on Saturday I try again later that day or the next day.

Build up and save money. The library is great where it is.

Liberty 11 years, 7 months ago

Yes, as long as all non-Kansas resident KU students pay for it. No price is too high for Public education as long as someone else will pay for it, not Lawrence residents. Otherwise, no way.

neopolss 11 years, 7 months ago

Compared to Topeka or JC, the Lawrence library sucks hard. Besides the fact that there is a paltry selection of books, and that every year they sell off about half of the lot, why build a new building when they have yet to utilize the space they have? The current library is far from jam-packed yet. There's tons of empty space, waiting for books. I do support the public library to an extent. I argue that those who oppose the public financing these services to look at the history side of it. I have used libraries for extensive geneology work, as well as historical documents pertaining to our country, city, and county. There's a lot of info that possibly would be tossed if there wasn't a public library.

I know some people want every penny they earn for themselves. I get it. Really I do. But it conflicts with the idea of living in a society, in which the community contributes to the whole. Grinching is fine, but what good are you to the society? I'm sure that someone will note that private contributions would be adequate, but somehow I feel that those who are complaining would probably contribute nothing at all. There's my rant for the day.

No to the library. On one simply pretense. The city MUST provide primary services FIRST, which includes roads and sewer, BEFORE tackling the extracurricular goals. There's a lot of road improvements needed (and not roundabouts). Dump $50 million into THAT budget.

ModSquadGal 11 years, 7 months ago

Oh please... it's ridiculous to spend that kind of money on the library they have proposed. Yes, we need to update and modify our library. The current one is outdated and too small. But, there is no reason to a) move it or b) spend that much money on it. I do understand the value of having a really good, well functioning library (especially now that I'm a mom), but we really don't need a coffee shop/apartment/business center library. Just one with books, computers and stuff for the kiddos that is up to date, fun and functional.

I have to agree with YourItalianPrincess. Build up on the current site and figure in some new parking ideas.

craigers 11 years, 7 months ago

cutny, I don't think anybody on here has a problem with some of their tax dollars going to fund a library they won't use. The issue comes from when the cost of the library is out of the question. People wouldn't have problems with politicians deciding to spend hard earned tax dollars if they did it wisely. Instead these politicians spend money like it is going out of style.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 7 months ago

I think they should spend $40-$70 million on a professional soccer team. Maybe they could play their games in the library.

Hey, that actually sounds like fun.

1derer 11 years, 7 months ago

sgtwolverine, early morning practices would be out and the games would have to be restricted to afternoons and weekends, so as not to wake the homeless. Once that requirement is met there should be no problem and it sounds like a lot of fun.

bugmenot 11 years, 7 months ago

New Library- Good Idea

40-70 million library- Stupid Idea

Fatty_McButterpants 11 years, 7 months ago

Hell no! Are they trying to tell me that they can't build a viable, modern library for less than $40-70 MILLION DOLLARS?!?! As a very wise person I know said, "If we pay for this all we are doing is paying for some of the richer residents in town to get even richer." They were referring to the plans put forth by Fritzel, Compton, etc. Yeah, they build a library, but they also build loft apartments, retail buildings, etc. that they can collect rent off of - with OUR money!

RustyShackleford 11 years, 7 months ago

cutny has it right.

And to echo something said above, if you don't want the arts and at least a third class library in a town like Lawrence, you're welcome to leave.

Hundreds of Red State towns with cats that drive trucks and distrust booklearnin' are beckoning. And the housing prices are bargain basement!

craigers 11 years, 7 months ago

You can't blame the construction companies for trying. After all they are in it to make money. They are business owners. However we can get mad if the Commish approves the ideas.

gontek 11 years, 7 months ago

Lets build the biggest, best public library in Kansas. Lets go for something that would be monumental, like the library of congresss or something that you would expect to see in the mall in DC. If we are going to do it, then lets do it right.

LogicMan 11 years, 7 months ago

If the existing building's foundation was designed to handle additional floors, than building up, renovating the lower floors, and replacing the antiquated building systems makes a lot of sense.

It won't be cheap, but it does keep things simple which usually is best.

Or, could some functions of the current library be moved to the (renovated) Carnegie library building? Like maybe have the adult-oriented books and functions there, while retaining the children's books, activities, etc. at a renovated-version of the current library? That might be cheapest, and would solve two or more problems ...

Ceallach 11 years, 7 months ago

Using the Carnegie as a branch is a very good idea. Renovating the existing structure and creating several branch locations would solve many problems, not the least of which is the 40-70 million dollar price tag. (Such a wide range!!)

sgtwolverine 11 years, 7 months ago

Ceal, I heard that originally they were going to say it would be between $1 and $1 billion, but they thought that might meet with more resistance.

enochville 11 years, 7 months ago

Just have time for a quick email. Our son was born at 9:56pm last night by c-section. He and his mother are healthy and doing just fine. He was 7 lbs, 14 oz, and 19.75 in long.

I know ms_canada wants pictures. I'll send them as soon as I can.

Gareth Skarka 11 years, 7 months ago

Libraries = books.

Books = intellectualism.

Conservatives are anti-intellectual. So, naturally, they hate the idea of a library renovation.

The rampant anti-intellectual subtext of Neo-Con positions, coupled with their embrace of the fanatical Taliban-esque Christianist movement, makes them something we should all be fighting against, red state or blue.

bugmenot 11 years, 7 months ago

Gareth: You are missing the point of the critiscism of many on the new library. It's too expensive. Quit devoting all of your time to think of a witty saying and actually read what most are bashing. At $40 million it's too damn expensive, let alone the $70 mill they are quoting.

paladin 11 years, 7 months ago

I like books. No, I love books. I have owned allot of books. I have given away allot of books. I have read allot of books. I think everyone can benefit from the reading of books. Books have always been a very important part of the person I am. Some have even called me a intullectial. I am definitively pro-books. I am not pro-Megalibrary Development Project, as proposed. The reason is that it is not about books as nearly as much as it is about a small number of rich people becoming richer at the expense of us ordinary folks, who happen to like books.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 7 months ago

Congrats, congrats to enochville and his wife on the birth of their son.

What a joy it is to be a parent.

Ceallach 11 years, 7 months ago

Congrats, enochvill and mrs. enochville!! Baby pictures are always welcome:):) Hope the c-section doesn't mean she had difficulty, if so may she quickly recover.

sgt, at least they got something right:)

Linda Aikins 11 years, 7 months ago

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. and baby E! And thanks for taking a minute to let us know.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 7 months ago

Indeed -- congratulations on the Enochlet. It won't be long before the baby starts posting here...

craigers 11 years, 7 months ago

Congrats enochville. I can't wait until September when my wife and I have our first. It will be pretty sweet.

akuna 11 years, 7 months ago

I say "Yes" to the Library and "No" to the SLT. I bet people like Marion are the opposite. The typical Left and Right flip.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 7 months ago

Build UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It can be done, so why not look into it.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 7 months ago

Enoch, Congrats!!! I hope your babe's mommy recovers quickly from that C-section and that all of you have lots of happy, healthy, years together. :o) :o) :o) XOXO for the little boy!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 7 months ago

Princess, because that would be too simple.

Why not turn that narcissistic shrine to Bob Dole into a branch library? Seriously, how often does that get used?

RI, I'm liking that virtual library idea. Minus the silverfish!

I overheard an "older" couple at the grocery store today talking about how worthless the computer is. Maybe they're on to something. Naaaahhhhh!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 7 months ago

Ceallach, I like you better on high octane! Tomorrow, skip the decaf! ;)

sunflower_sue 11 years, 7 months ago

RI, perfect! Where do I get that much blue icing???

Ceallach 11 years, 7 months ago

SS, you are bad!! Paladin helped calm my storm :):)

There seem to be some validity behind the Celts being labeled as barbarians, some nonsense about human sacrifices, etc., probably started by a bunch of panty waists :) My dad always said he felt guilty about punishing his children, given the gene pool he helped to create in them. Enough Irish to fly off the handle, enough German to plot revenge, and enough Cherokee to remember forever a lot he knew . . I have a terrible memory!!

Ceallach 11 years, 7 months ago

Now some devil-child is after Paladin!!

Steve Jacob 11 years, 7 months ago

Let's look into in future! Will people be reading books in 10-20 years? I have been saying over and over expand the computer center and don't add any more space for books.

007 11 years, 7 months ago

It appears the no's have it; not that it matters to the simpletons who frame the proposal thus: If you're against the library, you're with the terrorists.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 7 months ago

Oh yes, build a huge modern building just like Topeka did. They did it by making all of the county residents pay for it as well. It's called the Topeka & Shawnee County public library. It has a cafe, and lots of amenities. When we move over there we will be paying for it. Why not make the county residents pay for it too? Remember all you city and county commissioners, I thought of it first. Thank you, Lynn

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 7 months ago

Damn, Rundle already thought of it. Oh well. Thank you, Lynn

paladin 11 years, 7 months ago

I spell the word grammer. Only because I choose to. I'm a existentialist intullectial.

O Source of Mercy, give us the grace to show forbearance to those who offend against us. When the wrongs and injustices of others wound us, may our hearts not despair of human good. May no trial, however severe, embitter our souls and destroy our trust. When beset by trouble and sorrow, our mothers and fathers put on the armour of faith and fortitude. May we too find strength to meet adversity with quiet courage and unshaken will. Amen

Ceallach 11 years, 7 months ago

MD, I miss seeing the red "Hot Doughnuts" sign late at night -- talk about a sugar rush!!

Paladin, amen!

Off to dinner and the Children's VBS Program this evening at church. They are always so much fun . . I think the "crew" members are pirates this year. Then of course treats after (almost as good as Joe's sugar cookies :)

SpeedRacer 11 years, 7 months ago

NO WAY! Maybe the city commission hippies can make a deal with the Maharisha to put a new library in the "Peace Palace".

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