Thanks to commenter Barbara Halliday, who let me know about a project to renovate our library and the response by a group of concerned citizens. Before I get into any specifics, why don’t you judge for yourself. Here’s the Library today:
And this is the Library tomorrow?
A few of the major differences:
- The skylight is gone. Why would you ever take out a skylight?
- There are many fewer books. Libraries serve many functions, but the serendipity of walking around and browsing books is an important one, especially for younger readers.
- The Library may be closed for up to a year to complete the project.
- The new design is marked by the loss of a feeling of warmth.
To that latter point, the response of the citizens’ group struck me: “The issue with furniture and finishes is not darker wood, but having a warm, and friendly home-like atmosphere, not a bright, very light atmosphere similar to airport terminals.”
I moved here about 6 years ago now. I was– and am– pleased at what a comfortable and attractive library we have. It’s got great windows and nice spaces for sitting. It’s not the biggest library, but it’s got stacks of books, like a library should.
I agree with the citizens’ group that this overhaul is not only not necessary, it’s out of character and will leave us with a worse library. The group advocates that we meet current shortcomings, in particular Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, with a reconfiguration that stays in character with Mercer Island. It’s at least worth looking at.