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Views on library remodel are one-sided
I was interested and more than a little disappointed by your front page story on the plans to renovate the library. It appears that the only individual interviewed in the story was Meg Lippert, a member of the Concerned Citizens Committee, a committee made up primarily of older residents. This group has been quite vocal in its opposition to the modernization of the library, stating that “we love our library” just as it is, but they represent the views of only one segment of our community. As mentioned briefly in the article, there is also a City Council Library Committee. The City Council Library Committee was created specifically to represent a WIDE VARIETY of citizen groups —people representing preschoolers, teens, people in their 30s and 40’, and older citizens. No one from that group was contacted for the article. (I am a member of the City Council Library Committee but the views represented here are mine and may, or may not, be shared by others on the committee).
The problem, of course, is that different people have different ideas about the role of a library. As mentioned in the article, the Concerned Citizens Committee believes the remodel “would leave little room for the library’s primary function — quiet reading.” (quote from Mercer Island Reporter’s article ). In talking with library patrons UNDER 50 I find they see a different primary function — namely a place to get information and study, often on computers and personal devices, and in study groups of four or more people. Hence they want more computers, more electrical outlets for their personal devices and more meeting spaces. This renovation is intended to serve our island for the next few decades, and hence is largely going to serve that younger population. Their voice and requests for the new library, need to take precedence over the views of citizens who don’t seem to want to modernize it.
There is no way that any plan will meet the expectations of every person on this island. The result will be some compromise. KCLS has listened to the opinions of both groups and has made many changes from their original design to accommodate some of our concerns. I think it is time to thank KCLS for the changes they have agreed to and accept that it is impossible to have everything demanded by any of us. Continuing to protest and delay a decision will only cost taxpayers more money and will never satisfy everyone.