Previous poll Next poll

Should the City Commission allow a public referendum in November on an $18 million expansion for the Lawrence Public Library?

Response Percent Votes
68% 451
29% 197
Not sure
1% 13
Total 661


KS 8 years ago

Yes they should and it will go down to defeat. That will be the only way they get the message.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Why should taxpayers need to vote to keep up the city library in a manner that is expected?

Why does a city library get neglected for so many years?

City Hall does NOT request that the failures such as Baur Farms,Riverfront Mall,Tanger Mall and numerous housing projects be put to a vote. All of which require big government tax dollars and may have prevented this: By Kim McClure

July 24, 2009

To the editor:

The July 14 editorial asks, “What’s downtown going to look like five, 10 or 15 years from now?” The answer can be known, and the picture is not pretty.

Lawrence has enough spending to support about 4.1 million square feet of retail space, but the City Commission permitted developers to expand the supply to over 5.5 million square feet.

Lawrence has too much retail space chasing too few vendors, which means that many stores go empty, especially in the older shopping centers like downtown.

The surplus development has stalled redevelopment plans downtown and has pushed the vacancy rates so high that disinvestment and blight now threaten. Investment, both public and private, is wasted. The taxpayers’ $8 million parking garage stands largely empty. The Hobbs-Taylor building and the 600 block of Massachusetts should be the top performing spaces in the community, but they have significant vacancies.

The recession has contributed to the problem, but had we properly managed our growth we would be much better off.

The developers’ short-term gain is now our long-term loss. Managed growth would have prevented much of the problem and would have protected and enhanced our downtown.

It will take many, many years to absorb this surplus space and, until this happens, it will be hard for downtown to compete. We can only look forward to many years of high vacancy and disinvestment. We need a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply so as to protect our unique downtown.

McClure is from Lawrence

And this: If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality. In essence high tax dollar bedroom communities do not pay back the taxpayers.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

Merrill - Don't you have a conflict of interest? Investments downtown help your property values - don't they?

Does any growth pay for itself? People demand services not properties. Seems to me that big rental properties bring more people who pay less in taxes then residential properties while demanding more services because there are more of them. Of course people who own property here benefit from moratoriums on growth - increases their properties' value. Are you not in that boat??

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

OUR city library has been neglected for wayyyyyyyyy to long. It is a busy place. Books will never be replaced by computers. Computer reading is a huge strain on the eyes.

Libraries are points of culture in a city and provide a wealth of information. Thank you city library for being there as our children have reaped the benefits. Yes many many many stories have been read to them by the bagful until they decided to take up reading on their own. Thanks again library for being their for our children as they took up making their own choices after becoming book worms.

geekyhost 8 years ago

E-ink looks pretty much like paper. Sorry, writing's on the wall. Or rather the writing's on the small, portable screen. That isn't to say that there won't still be values in libraries, especially as pubic meeting space, and hey, might be able to check out the latest ebook there.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

I agree with you merrill we need good libraries. Note we are eligible to use the library at KU for a fee. I am not willing to pay for more "downtown" I want an annex out here. Share and share alike.

Ralph Reed 8 years ago

I voted "Yes," but unfortunately I think the issue will fail. Online sources, ebooks, and social networking with accompanying urban legends are taking the place of books. It's hard to get a child to read when their babysitter for 10 years has been a cartoon on TV. An example is something I heard a kid say when handed a book. He opened it and nothing happened. He then turned to his Dad and said, "I think it's broken. It's not doing anything."

c_doc77 8 years ago

"It's hard to get a child to read when their babysitter for 10 years has been a cartoon on TV. An example is something I heard a kid say when handed a book. He opened it and nothing happened. He then turned to his Dad and said, 'I think it's broken. It's not doing anything.'"


Jeff Cuttell 8 years ago

Think about the dropping numbers over the years due to computer age. What would it be like in ten years? Why spend money in a dieing area? Yes, some people still go there, for now......

Kontum1972 8 years ago

they dont carry Zap comix..pooh..!

c_doc77 8 years ago

I love the library. I'm there at least once a week. I realize that it could be improved and many of us would benefit from that. I also think, as someone here has mentioned, that it has been neglected. But should we really increase taxes in this economic climate if it is not absolutely necessary? I say no. I'm not dead set against the idea or anything, but I just don't think it is very prudent. But hey, it beats paying taxes for roundabouts when there are so many potholes in the city.

Clovis Sangrail 8 years ago

The question should not be "Should the City Commission allow a public referendum in November on an $18 million expansion for the Lawrence Public Library?" Rather, it should e "Why didn't the City Comission allow a public referendum on the purchase of that Farmland toxic waste site?"

no_thanks 8 years ago

I'm not opposed to an investment in our library that increases parking (which is good for downtown in general), enhances the exterior, and invests in technology. But, there is no way I can support an $18MM project as I believe it is a complete misallocation of resources. Clearly, the digital era has led to a steep decline in newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and printed books aren't far behind. So, we would be investing in a decaying asset. Further, the library already receives $3MM per year from our property taxes for general operations. How in the world does the library not have enough excess cash flow to fund most of what they are asking, especially with bond financing?

Reuben Turner 8 years ago

if you hold one the library will never get the attention that it needs. gone and do what got's to be done. someone in the crowd will disagree, then there'll be fighting and name calling. nothing will get done. just do the work and let us see the results.

Prairielander 8 years ago

no_thanks - The Library is much more than newspapers, magazines and books. My work requires that I visit libraries all over the country. Libraries are the repository of most genealogical and historical archives in addition to being a hub of community activities. Take a look at the proposed plan and you will see new meeting rooms and other common areas. This expansion is much needed. Great communities have great libraries.

no_thanks 8 years ago


I don't know for certain, but my guess is that the Douglas County Watkins Museum of History earns the title as the repository of historical archives (maybe they should ask for a multi-million overhaul). I also don't believe Lawrence is short of meeting space, or at least I've not encountered an issue. But, to be clear, I'm not opposed to investing in the library to a small degree, but an $18MM investment is simply unwarranted. I will have to ask for public records to see how the library spends its $3MM a year that it currently receives. My guess is there is a tremendous amount of waste, but that's what happens when you don't have to "earn" your revenue/income.

Prairielander 8 years ago

When is the Watkins Museum open? The very name "museum" suggests that it a place to visit and look, not to work. All of the resources I use are located at the library and I know that it will be open when I need to work.

How would you suggest that the library "earn" their revenue. Should we charge admission? Put a fee on library cards?

sherlock 8 years ago

too bad the library vote will probably go to defeat, yet the comm. is all primed to use the tax money that is presently paying off the city/Freestate swiming pool, when paid off to build a huge recreation center in west Lawrence. Cant they use that tax money for the Library instead? Seems more important than a 6 area basketball court. Oh yeah, dumb me I forgot! Athletics are much more important here in town than academics. After all what would the soccer moms do for entertainment if they couldnt drag junior and mary all over town to play ball? Football is a MUST for goodness sake too, especially since the school has paid out over 14 million to build the wonderful fields. Now another million coming up for the rest rooms/concession stands and a press box with an elevator! Whooooo!

pace 8 years ago

The money that a referendum would cost would be better spent on the new library

pace 8 years ago

I have been to libraries all over the country. The good ones allow everyone in the community access to information, both book and internet. The best give the community a sense of the best of itself.

George Lippencott 8 years ago

I bet if we look closely we wil fund a good portion of the library upgrade buys a parking structure for "downtown" and not anything particularly useful for our kids and their reading skills.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.