Library should focus on content, not concrete
July 11, 2012
Our treasured Pitkin County Library needs to be reconfigured, not enlarged. It has a surplus of unused space, and by digitalization of the card catalog and magazine sections, etc., more floor area would be made available for future needs.
The well-meaning library board is infected with the same brick-and-mortar mindset that caused a former Aspen Historical Society board to squander a substantial bequest by Ruth Whyte on consultants, headhunters and gypsum board at the exclusion of any new museum content.
In my view, accessing the digitized information via the Web from home is much greener than driving one’s auto to the upper end of the Roaring Fork Valley.
Yes, the parking garage needs a waterproof roof sooner or later, but its reinforced concrete beams appear strong enough to support several more library floors for reading and meetings and still support a full-roof garden as well as balconies for viewing the park and Shakespeare performances. Let’s just give the garage $1 million now to lay in sub-floor infrastructure in anticipation of a modest one-floor expansion of the library at a later date, if and when needed.
Digitalization and expanded content are the best use of our current $5 million endowment. With the Aspen Institute and pending Aspen Art Museum, we have enough empty meeting rooms and museum space to last us well into the next decade.
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Let’s invest in more content.
William H. Pope