Vote library into the 21st century
October 14, 2012
If you are open to information on the library questions, I ask that you consider these thoughts on the proposal to make our Pitkin County Library in Aspen even better as an important gathering place for learning and literacy in our community. We want it to keep pace and continue as a trend-setting place of learning in serving locals, our part-time residents and visitors.
Why vote “yes” on the library questions now? Some points to consider:
• Our library is a community center for those who use it and for others who will take advantage of what we have as the space is renovated and expanded.
• The library is also a gathering place for teens, and a place for their pursuit of learning. They really do use it!
• The children’s library needs safety improvements and more learning areas, so it is not a corridor for anyone entering the building as it is now. Kids need safe spaces of their own. There will be a very separate children’s area with separate, secure access.
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• Upgraded computer areas and technology for better access to electronic resources are part of the new library plan.
• Contrary to thoughts that with the Internet there is no need for libraries and books, there is a greater need than ever – but it is changing, and it is different now. Our library use continues to grow, absolutely.
• Aspen needs inexpensive community meeting and gathering places. That is in the new library plan, and they have doors to the outside so meeting room use is not limited to library hours only as it is now.
• Some have suggested that the library plan is damaging to the Galena Plaza area. On the contrary, the building plan makes better use of this area that now sees only limited use. It will actually make the Galena Plaza area better for everyone, and will include some shaded and covered areas.
• The new entry orientation takes advantage of the Galena Plaza area and will see it get more use. Now the plaza is almost totally unused.
• The plan takes advantage of cost savings available by timing the expansion to coincide with the city garage improvements. Doing the two projects together just makes sense – and saves money!
Great news: While the library expansion and renovations will cost about $10 million, and over half has already been raised and is ready to go!
Our library gets used by locals and visitors alike. It is very busy now, and its use is growing. With the improvements proposed it will be in an even better place to serve all clients. Having a top library makes sense for Aspen, and the limited cost of about $17 per $1 million in residential valuation is a very small price to pay. I urge a “yes” vote on both library issues. Our young people in particular are counting on us!