Monday, July 13, 2009

There's more to design of new library than space

Post-Crescent letters July 13, 2009

In response to the July 4 letter about the proposed library building, I appreciate Mr. Thiel's acknowledgement both of the need for more library space and the wisdom of a single downtown facility.

But I take issue with some of his points, which appear to be in response to The Post-Crescent's report on a brief presentation by architects, rather than considering the full study.

Mr. Thiel's statement notwithstanding, the architects who spent months designing spaces for a conceptual building program did, in fact, include engineering input and look at many alternatives, including four different design options for expanding our current facility.

While expansion on this site could feasibly address most library concerns, it would not likely be the most cost-effective option for library service in the long run. A crucial concept is that current and future needs are only partly about increased space.

Any design should also address functional needs for increased safety and security, accessible public meeting spaces, improved use of technology, automation of operations, fewer service points and generally more efficient use of staff.

Any design should also be as green and sustainable as possible. Dollars invested wisely up front will be repaid in the long term with more usability and lower unit operating costs to provide more service.

With a project of this magnitude and community impact, we should not be penny-wise and pound-foolish. We encourage community members to read the full report, available at the Appleton Public Library, and at We look forward to more conversation.

Terry Dawson,
Director, Appleton Public Library

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