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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 6:19 PM
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The library is one of those key institutions in the city. They have played very important roles since roman times and have always been good markers of the city. A gorgeous modern, hightech library says something about the city. If we were to build one, maybe people would stop thinking we are a small backwards thinking city.

I grew up in the library myself. Alderney to be specific. I went to reading programs. Used the computers. Played piano recitals, and got out hundreds of books all the time. It was a very important part of my childhood. And I find myself going to the library for development information sessions. And I use the downtown branch as a meeting spot, because everybody knows where the library is. They are much more then just a couple of books on a shelf. Anytime I go into Alderney or the SGR it is always bustling with people.

I say spend the money, spend even more. Because a good library says something about the city it is in.

Not to mention also, the public process the library has gone through for this new branch is amazing. The best consultation process I have ever seen in this city.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 6:32 PM
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^I completely agree with you there "Jonovision". Plus we need a very nice library in downtown. Something that is nicer then the Goodman library in Clayton Park. With a nice new library downtown people will think we care about our downtown and it'll help the downtown grow better.

I, too, went to the library all the time as a child (Bfd and Sackville to be specific). I went there for shows, to play around, do research, ect. Despite its location the library here in Bedford is the gathering place for our town. When its open there are people constantly coming and going and the parking lot is always full and we have one the smallest library in HRM. I can't speak officially for other libraries but if our small insignificant one is so busy i cant imagine what Alderney and SGR are like with more people and more books.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 6:34 PM
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Having now plowed through the entire 65MB (!) report on the Committee of the Whole agenda today, I have to say my worst fears have been realized. This is a grease job by Judith Hare and the HRM Library management.

The entire report is full of very questionable statements and assumptions. When a consultant tells you to borrow money to build something and repeatedly calls that "debit" financing, you know you have a problem. Such is the case here.

It appears to me that Ms. Hare and her staff have done a very good job soliciting ideas from every other library they could find. They also solicited more ideas from their regular customers. They threw all those into a pot and said they were done. Then they presented that dish to their existing clientele who all said, "oooh, look what's for supper!" without even bothering to question how much the bill would be.

The report quotes survey results. Fine. But they only surveyed their existing users. Those results would be fine if they were the ones paying for it. But they aren't. This involves reaching into the public purse for $42 million (more on that later). Unfortunately, the public at large wasn't asked how they felt about that. This is a huge gap in their argument.

A few public meetings involving existing users resulted in some interesting comments as all public meetings do. Some were the usual off the wall type things like wanting water views, etc., while others were the usual special interest sort of thing -- the artists wanted a gallery, the performers wanted a theater, and everybody seemed to want a coffee shop. But as things progressed, theire were a few voices in the crowd who began to question what this was all about. Was it a library? A school/univerisity? A performing arts venue? Those questions were largely ignored in the final product, because without any limits, Judith Hare said she wanted it all.

Let's talk costs for a moment. The $42 million number is largely a fiction. That is today's cost estimate, but the thing won't get built for at least 4 years. Add 30%-40% to that. Then there is LEED certification. They estimate $800K for that, which is wildly optimistic. Add another few million there. The thing nobody has attempted to quantify are the operating costs. The report says that the library will go to a 7-day per week operation. There is a minimum 20% increase in your labor costs. The report also recommends extended hours. Add another 15%-20% there. Then you are operating a space nearly 3 times bigger than your existing space. What will that cost to ruin? I dunno, but it is something. Let's say 25% at minimum. So you are looking at a minimum of 50% increase in labor alone, a number I suspect will eventually be much higher, plus all the rest of the associated operating costs. Frightening.

And let's just forget about using the proceeds from the commercial space (the cafe) to pay for things. They are proposing a 1000 sq ft space for that, or 1% of the building's floor space. That won't get you very far. There were also comments on a proposed "library shop" from the patrons, and those were almost universally negative, since they don't want to sell out their precious library to the evil corporate interests. That sounds extreme, but read the comments -- that is exactly the tone they have. And it doesn't surprise me in the least. Any larger commercial cohabitation is, naturaly, dead in the water.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the report is that, like everything Judith Hare has proposed on this project for the last 10 years or so, it only provides one choice -- hers. Aside from all the programs and services it proposes, it pays lip service to how the thing will actually get designed, built, and paid for. They do not want an architectural competition. they do not want any kind of private sector partnership (i.e. shared commercial space except for the cafe, unless Judith wants to run that too). They do not want design/build. The report says that HRM Library Services should pick the architect, pick the design, and that HRM should borrow the money to pay for it. Full stop. I find that outrageous. Where is the courtesy, if nothing else, to pay respect to those who are going to pay for this? Where is the accountability? I see none. But I did see that the plans call for underground STAFF parking. Free, presumably. I worked downtown for over 20 years and never got parking provided. But I guess when you are shooting for the moon, you might as well get a little gravy for yourself too.

I was down on this project before reading the report. Now I am even more down on it. This needs to be stopped and put on a much more realistic and practical path. I have nothing against a new library. I do have something against building monuments to a person's ego. This Judith Hare Commemorative Library is exactly what that looks like.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 7:26 PM
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Rather than the archive/museum thing, which wouldn't be very vibrant, I wonder if it couldn't be used as a new performing arts center? You would have to pretty much gut the interior but that is likely regardless. It has high ceilings and if you could fit 1500-2000 seats in there somehow you'd have an ideal symphony hall/concert/theater/performing arts venue right in the downtown. I dunno if the building would accommodate that at 38000 sq ft though.
It could maybe work if an addition were added to the back.

One of the main features of the building that I like is the entrance area. I hope that they preserve that somehow regardless of what they do with the building (or come up with something good enough to justify destroying it).

For a long time there was talk of building a new performing arts centre in the seawall area but that's been dead for a while.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 7:30 PM
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I do not at all believe this is a monument to her ego. This is a monument for the city. And we all know this city has not built on of those in many a decade. Why do we have to scale back!? Why not shoot for the moon! Have a little optimism and aspiration for what could be a truly amazing building for this city. It is all too often that we settle for mediocrity here in Halifax, and I for one am dam tired of it! I want a library that people around the world will look at and admire. If the city and people really want it, the money will be found. And who's to say that the public consultation was limited? They hosted 3 or 4 meetings in the downtown open to anyone who wished to attend. They took all the ideas talked about and yes they put them together into one big melting pot. I think that is a refreshing idea myself. Why should the consultants get to choose what goes and what stays? (aka HRM by Design) Let the people talk for once. And after all this is a preliminary report. It's aim was to take everyones ideas and put them together to see what the new library could be. It is not meant to be the be all and end all in this process.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 8:45 PM
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I agree. A central library is an incredibly unique once in a lifetime opportunity. It should be something great. Halifax doesn't have anything great. It doesn't have a single great (or even good) modern space anywhere. Spend the money.

Last edited by Takeo; Jun 24, 2008 at 11:56 PM.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2008, 11:16 PM
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The report quotes survey results. Fine. But they only surveyed their existing users. Those results would be fine if they were the ones paying for it. But they aren't. This involves reaching into the public purse for $42 million (more on that later). Unfortunately, the public at large wasn't asked how they felt about that. This is a huge gap in their argument.
Jesus, it hasn't even been approved yet. The meetings and surveys were open to the public, you and everybody else here was and is more than welcome to submit your feedback. However as a library user and supporter myself, I find it insulting that you insinuate the library users are not the ones paying for it, when library users pay taxes just like you do.

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Was it a library? A school/univerisity? A performing arts venue? Those questions were largely ignored in the final product, because without any limits, Judith Hare said she wanted it all.
There was quite a bit of public consultation, and a number of things were dropped from the final proposal, so to say Judith Hare wanted and got it all is grossly unfair. By the sounds of it, you want a library to just be a big room full of books and nothing more. Sorry, those days are long over.

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The thing nobody has attempted to quantify are the operating costs. The report says that the library will go to a 7-day per week operation. There is a minimum 20% increase in your labor costs. The report also recommends extended hours. Add another 15%-20% there.
Alderney Gate already provides all of those services, and they're managing just fine.

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their precious library
Anybody else sensing a huge amount of sarcasm here? Just what do you have against libraries? I know you said you haven't set foot in the SGR branch in what, 15 years I think you said? So because it's of no use for you, it's of no use for anybody but a select few?

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But I did see that the plans call for underground STAFF parking. Free, presumably. I worked downtown for over 20 years and never got parking provided. But I guess when you are shooting for the moon, you might as well get a little gravy for yourself too.
What's wrong with staff parking? Judith Hare doesn't even work out of the SGR branch, as I said the administrative offices are at Alderney Gate which already has *gasp* underground parking. Not free I might add.

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I do have something against building monuments to a person's ego. This Judith Hare Commemorative Library is exactly what that looks like.
The few times I've met her, I thought she was rather down to earth. I'm curious to know how many times you've met her?
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 12:01 AM
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However as a library user and supporter myself, I find it insulting that you insinuate the library users are not the ones paying for it, when library users pay taxes just like you do.
Library users will pay a very small fraction of the $60 million I'm estimating this will cost. Sorry you feel insulted but that's the reality.

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There was quite a bit of public consultation, and a number of things were dropped from the final proposal, so to say Judith Hare wanted and got it all is grossly unfair. By the sounds of it, you want a library to just be a big room full of books and nothing more. Sorry, those days are long over.
Clearly so under Hare. But I fail to see what was dropped other than the library shop. They have their auditorium, their art gallery, and a whole laundry list of other things.

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Alderney Gate already provides all of those services, and they're managing just fine.
Those people aren't working for free. And it isn't a 100,000 sq ft facility. There will be significant increases in operating budgets required which -- guess what? -- we ALL get to pay for, not just the relative handful of library users.

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Anybody else sensing a huge amount of sarcasm here? Just what do you have against libraries? I know you said you haven't set foot in the SGR branch in what, 15 years I think you said? So because it's of no use for you, it's of no use for anybody but a select few?

What's wrong with staff parking? Judith Hare doesn't even work out of the SGR branch, as I said the administrative offices are at Alderney Gate which already has *gasp* underground parking. Not free I might add.

The few times I've met her, I thought she was rather down to earth. I'm curious to know how many times you've met her?
My issue is not with a new library. I don't know how many times I have to say that. My issue is with this specific extravagant proposal and the arrogant manner in which she is pushing it through. As for Hare herself, I too have met her a few times as well. She has left me with the impression that she is a very insistent lady which is reflective of the entire process to date.

I fail to see what we would lose with a $30 million dollar library. I also would see us gaining $30 million or so as a result to direct towards transit or other more pressing things this city desperately needs. Monuments are nice except when you have to pay for them out of the grocery money. That's what's happening here.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 12:36 AM
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New Halifax library has 'elitist components', councillor says before debate shelved

By DAVENE JEFFREY Staff Reporter
Tue. Jun 24 - 6:50 PM

Halifax’s new central library has been put back on the shelf for at least another couple of weeks.

Debate on recommendations to push forward with plans for a new facility on Halifax’s Spring Garden Road was cut short Tuesday afternoon by a pressing labour-management issue in the regional fire service.

While the new facility was still up for discussion, however, councillors appeared to have widely opposing visions of what services a central library should offer.

Some even opposed the format in which it was presented.

“When I saw this I almost flipped,” Coun. Gloria McCluskey (Dartmouth Centre) said about the use of colour pictures in the spiral-bound document presented to council by the library consultant.

“We’ve committed $400,000 and this here fella put a book together,” said Coun. Steve Streatch (Eastern Shore-Musquodoboit Valley).

After months of public consultations, a vision of a new library housing nearly 10 times the present number of computers, vastly expanded collections and seating areas as well as new services including a café, meeting rooms and a 250-seat auditorium was put before council.

To house those services, consultants say the structure would need to be nearly 109,000 square feet and would cost $42 million to build.

Four councillors said they will give the project their full support. They include David Hendsbee (Preston-Lawrencetown-Chezzetcook), who urged the group to consider giving the proposed library a high roofline that would set it apart from and above other structures in the area.

But Ms. McCluskey, Mr. Streatch, Bill Karsten (Portland–East Woodlawn) and Reg Rankin (Timberlea-Prospect) appeared to think the whole thing was just too grandiose.

“I would have a problem at this time supporting those elements that are not core services,” said Mr. Rankin, pointing out plans for a café as well as meeting rooms and the auditorium.

Mr. Streatch called the proposal “a building that has elitist components.”

In ending the debate, Mayor Peter Kelly said it will be at least two weeks before the matter can be heard again and that depends on the consultant’s availability.

Council is being asked to approve three recommendations: to approve the central library in principle, to have staff looking into funding options for the project and to begin the search for architects to design it.
I say keep the $42 million design and as for hours make it 24/7. Give people a place to go at night to relax and enjoy. Besides this is downtown where most of the 24/7 things are in HRM. SGR and DT are open 24/7 so why not give library lovers a place to go? Yes it might get quiet at 3am on a Monday but that doesn't mean it should be closed its not like we make money off people coming in, and overnight would only require one person on.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 12:43 AM
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...and overnight would only require one person on.
I would hate to be that one person when a bunch of punks come in at 2am and start causing shit. It's bad enough when they do that at 2 in the afternoon, let alone 2 in the morning.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 12:48 AM
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Clearly so under Hare.
You honestly believe this is something unique to Halifax, a first for North America?

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My issue is not with a new library. I don't know how many times I have to say that. My issue is with this specific extravagant proposal and the arrogant manner in which she is pushing it through.
I see nothing arrogant about developing a proposal, or as you accurately put it on another message board, a "wish list".
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  #52  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 1:07 AM
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Gloria almost flipped? That's rich coming from a councillor in an area that has the most elaborate HRM development constructed in recent years while having a significantly smaller population than the peninsula and a much lower level of overall regional importance.

How the hell can a building open to the public be called "elitist"? Maybe not everybody will live next door to it but if we supposedly cannot afford this proposal then we definitely cannot afford to put one in every district. The next best alternative is putting it in the middle of the HRM, where it can still be accessed by the majority of the population relatively easily.

The fact that so many councillors either don't get this is pretty depressing. Treating the downtown like just another district that shouldn't get anything that Timberlea or Musquodoboit do not is a recipe for mediocrity and decline.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 1:44 AM
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I think the elitist comment comes not from any one specific thing in the proposal but rather the entire thing taken as a whole. For $42 or $60 million or whatever this ends up costing, the vast majority of people throughout HRM will never set foot inside it and will never use it. When you could accomplish most of the same objectives for perhaps half that cost you can see where the elitist comment comes from. Again, it isn't the idea of a new library, it's the idea of THIS new library and the way it is being pushed.

24/7 already exists. It's called the internet.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 2:26 AM
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Everybody in the HRM benefits indirectly from investment in the core. The library system as a whole will also benefit from an expanded collection and central library from which materials can be redistributed out to the branches. The argument that not all will be served can apply to practically any investment any government makes.

I don't think it's very fair to talk as if the proposal is for a $60M building when final plans have yet to be created. They can't know what the structure will cost until they carry out specific design work and consult with architects and builders.

The $42M budget is not outlandish given the size of the HRM and the fact that this facility is aimed at providing a wider range of services. Really it is a community centre and the HRM has historically not minded spending $10M or more on similar buildings that serve specific subregions of the city. Furthermore, I would argue that this investment is in line with what has been spent in other cities around the country. Vancouver for example built a library in 1995 for $106.8 million. Back then the city's population was 514,000 to the HRM's 373,000. Even if it was funded regionally then the values are roughly proportional or perhaps smaller when corrected for inflation and the disparity in metropolitan populations (Vancouver was about 1.8 million back then).

I can understand arguments about priorities but the fact is that we will never have enough money to meet all basic needs to everybody's satisfaction. I think it's silly, therefore, to totally rule out the possibility of ever undertaking any exceptional projects. There is room for something like this once a decade or so but we have not seen anything like it for a much longer period. The HRM has a budget of something like $600M so when you amortize a $42M project over 20 years it works out to a tiny percentage of the whole, as it should be. 1-2% of the budget should go to special capital projects so that people can feel proud about their city. Individuals operate in the same way. Even if you're poor you have to do something interesting sometime.

People in Halifax used to build all kinds of impressive buildings. When buildings like Province House, Government House, City Hall, etc. were built they cost much much more in proportional terms than this library will and they have been with us for hundreds of years. 60 years ago a main library was built that was 1/3 the size of this proposal when the city was 1/3 as big as it is now and much poorer.

What would Halifax look like today if instead its citizens focused on fixing potholes back in 1810 or 1949?
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Last edited by someone123; Jun 25, 2008 at 2:36 AM.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 10:14 AM
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Everybody in the HRM benefits indirectly from investment in the core. The library system as a whole will also benefit from an expanded collection and central library from which materials can be redistributed out to the branches. The argument that not all will be served can apply to practically any investment any government makes.
Agreed. As stated many times, the argument is not against a new library, it is against this specific proposal.

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I don't think it's very fair to talk as if the proposal is for a $60M building when final plans have yet to be created. They can't know what the structure will cost until they carry out specific design work and consult with architects and builders.
Well, they have included very detailed cost estimates in the document. I don't know what else we are supposed to believe. What they are proposing is what is in the document.

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The $42M budget is not outlandish given the size of the HRM and the fact that this facility is aimed at providing a wider range of services. Really it is a community centre and the HRM has historically not minded spending $10M or more on similar buildings that serve specific subregions of the city.
That really is a big part of the problem as I see it. The library currently offers a suite of services. This proposal calls for a significant expansion of not just the facilities but of the entire role of the institution, with all of the operating cost implications that contains. This is a very underhanded way for the library to expand its budget and bureaucratic empire. This not the way to do that since an operating budget increase will be a fait accompli once the facility is approved.

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People in Halifax used to build all kinds of impressive buildings. When buildings like Province House, Government House, City Hall, etc. were built they cost much much more in proportional terms than this library will and they have been with us for hundreds of years. 60 years ago a main library was built that was 1/3 the size of this proposal when the city was 1/3 as big as it is now and much poorer.

What would Halifax look like today if instead its citizens focused on fixing potholes back in 1810 or 1949?
It is really not a valid argument, The kind of services delivered back then were far different from what is expected today and the demand for tax dollars is signfiicantly higher. Again, I encourage you to look at the specifics of this proposal. It is trying to provide far more than what a library needs to provide at a correspondingly huge cost. Yes, I understand the need for a community center sort of concept and I have no issue with that. But people need to go into that with their eyes open and realize that this is not a library, it is a vastly different sort of place with the budget implications such an expansion of services requires. All those meeting rooms will require staff to set them up, clean them, etc. Having 10 times as many computers as at present will require significantly more care and feeding. If there are to be gaming stations (why I cannot imagine) there are implications to that. I also question why the library chooses to compete with the private sector by offering DVDs that I can walk down the street and rent. I could go on and on. The depth and scope of services proposed here is really quite excessive and that part of the proposal needs close scrutiny. And the way they are proposing to proceed needs to be tossed out entirely.
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  #56  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 10:28 AM
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That 'Elitist' comment made not sense to me whatsoever. I agree... how can a building open to the public be called elitist?
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  #57  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 11:35 AM
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Gloria almost flipped? That's rich coming from a councillor in an area that has the most elaborate HRM development constructed in recent years while having a significantly smaller population than the peninsula and a much lower level of overall regional importance.
As a big fan of Gloria myself, I find it difficult to say her attitude towards this project has disappointed me somewhat.
However I'm curious about one part of your remark there; exactly what development are you referring to? I hope you're not referring to Dartmouth Crossing...

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Agreed. As stated many times, the argument is not against a new library, it is against this specific proposal.
It's not against a new library, it's just against this new library. I see.

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That really is a big part of the problem as I see it. The library currently offers a suite of services. This proposal calls for a significant expansion of not just the facilities but of the entire role of the institution, with all of the operating cost implications that contains.
Why do you have a problem with the role of the library changing with the times? Other institutions are allowed to evolve to meet the needs of their users and the public at large, why is the library supposed to stay stagnant? To you, and I've said this before, it seems a library should be a room full of books and nothing more, but whether you like it or not the library system around here hasn't been like that for at least 10-15 years, the range of services is much broader than it was 30 years ago, and it will continue to broaden to meet the needs of the population.

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All those meeting rooms will require staff to set them up, clean them, etc.
I think they probably realize their staffing needs will be increased, they're not stupid. Besides, it's not like they hire people whose sole job it is to setup and clean meeting rooms.

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I also question why the library chooses to compete with the private sector by offering DVDs that I can walk down the street and rent.
Libraries have been offering DVDs for the last, jeez almost 10 years now? And before that you could borrow VHS tapes for the longest time, plus music CDs and audio cassettes, books on tape, materials for the visually impaired, etc. Multimedia isn't something new in the last couple of years.
Besides, you pay money to rent or buy DVDs down the road, you don't pay any money to borrow a DVD from the library. Given the huge popularity and the number of DVD returns we processed on any given day of the week, the demand is definitely out there.

Last edited by hfx_chris; Jun 25, 2008 at 11:48 AM.
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  #58  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 11:47 AM
Takeo Takeo is offline
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Yah... I was checking out CD's from the public library like... two decades ago... when I was in music school. And the Killam had a big collection of vinyl too. Nothing new. It's a very popular service. I can't imagine a library that only offered books.

As for the Internet argument... there are quality issues with what you find online. Wiki is known to be full of errors. And you just don't find entire books online. It's an apples and oranges argument. No good researcher or student or whomever is going to be writing a decent book or paper or whatever based solely on internet research.
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  #59  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 12:38 PM
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Why do you have a problem with the role of the library changing with the times? Other institutions are allowed to evolve to meet the needs of their users and the public at large, why is the library supposed to stay stagnant? To you, and I've said this before, it seems a library should be a room full of books and nothing more, but whether you like it or not the library system around here hasn't been like that for at least 10-15 years, the range of services is much broader than it was 30 years ago, and it will continue to broaden to meet the needs of the population.
There is a way to do that, and that is to come forward with an operating budget and staffing proposal. You don't o it by getting a new facility built and then saying "Ooops, we need a 50% budget increase now!" Pay up!"

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I think they probably realize their staffing needs will be increased, they're not stupid.
Then they need to identify that as part of the proposal. They have not done so.

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Besides, it's not like they hire people whose sole job it is to setup and clean meeting rooms.
Wanna bet? If you have a bunch of meeting rooms and an auditorium there is going to have to be a few people devoted just to the need to keep them operating. You ever been in a facility with several meeting rooms? Ever notice how people leave water bottles, papers, etc behind? They quickly become a pig sty if not kept up by someone.

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Libraries have been offering DVDs for the last, jeez almost 10 years now? And before that you could borrow VHS tapes for the longest time, plus music CDs and audio cassettes, books on tape, materials for the visually impaired, etc. Multimedia isn't something new in the last couple of years.
Besides, you pay money to rent or buy DVDs down the road, you don't pay any money to borrow a DVD from the library. Given the huge popularity and the number of DVD returns we processed on any given day of the week, the demand is definitely out there.
Sure it is, because you are offering the same thing for free that I can rent at Blockbuster or wherever. I'm not arguing against multimedia. And I'm certainly not arguing against audio availability, so let's forget about CDs in this. The library should have the type of DVDs available that are generally not available or hard to find at the rental places. Educational, instructional, cultural, etc. But should they have copies of Seinfeld or Cloverfield or any other sort of mindless pop culture entertainment when the place down the street does the same thing? I think not. Sure it is nice to have that. So are the other things people said they wanted in the report: free parking, free day care, free courses on languages and other areas. But all of those things are already available elsewhere. You just have to buy them. Why should the library be offering them -- not for free, but paid for with taxpayer dollars? The question is, you need to set some limits or otherwise the thing quickly gets way too expensive. The demand for anything "free" quickly becomes infinite. I see few limits in this proposal, and hence a frightening cost number down the road.
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  #60  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 2:24 PM
Takeo Takeo is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
The library should have the type of DVDs available that are generally not available or hard to find at the rental places. Educational, instructional, cultural, etc. But should they have copies of Seinfeld or Cloverfield or any other sort of mindless pop culture entertainment when the place down the street does the same thing? I think not.
I'd agree with that. Then again... maybe that would be elitist? LOL. But no... seriously... I'd agree.

Speaking of pop culture collections however... did you know that Michigan State Library has a MASSIVE comic book collection? It's mostly pre-code crime and horror comics from the 40's and 50's. I'm sure they are all "reading" copies (i.e... not in good enough condition to be collectible)... but still... very cool. Of course... if such a collection existed at the time... it would have been outrageous. But today... it's an incredibly valuable resource. I'm not making any point here... I'm just saying... interesting.
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