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Re: SG-W:/ Dexter Library
It's disappointing to me to read of this battle involving a new library in Dexter. From everything that I have heard, the current library facilities are completely inadequate and considering the growth of the community, the size of the library proposal sounds reasonable for the needs of the District. As someone who cares about both sprawl and libraries, I can understand the points being put forward by both sides. From my library perspective, I would just add a few points:
1) As a District Library Board, the board is expected to represent the interests of all of its constituencies, not just a single unit of government. I can understand the argument that as the library benefits the village, it benefits the entire area. However, I can also see residents who live outside the village desiring to have the library closer to their residences. This must have been a difficult balance for the board to deal with and I'm sure their choice was not easy.
2) As someone who has been involved in the planning process for several library projects, I've found that one of the biggest mistunderstandings is the belief of many people that a library can just go into any location, in any configuration. The design of library buildings is very much a science and it is very easy for poor design to have a long-term negative impact on the services to patrons and the efficiency of staff. The architectural firms the specialize in libraries have a wealth of experience and are well-versed in avoiding these problems.
Unfortunately, too often, well-intentioned people force changes that go contrary to these experiences and wreak havoc on the process.
This doesn't mean that buildings not designed to be libraries can't accomodate library facilities. But please realize that there are many design considerations go into the layout of a library and that they may not be immediately obvious to the general public. Libraries are not warehouses and the planning for them should not treat the library like it is an interchangeable block that can just be shoved in anywhere someone deems desireable. Just because a site is physically large enough, doesn't mean it is appropriate for the library. Yes, you can probably
make a library fit anywhere. But realize that doing so can result is so many compromises and poor design that the users of the library ultimately suffer. I've had to work with some of these compromises and it was not fun. Compromises can't always be avoided but remember that the ultimate goal is to have a library that functions well. A poorly-designed and functioning library serves no one.
Matt Kowalski wrote:
> Attention Dexter District Library members
> Dexter District Library has decided to move into a 25,000-30,000 square foot building with 150 parking spaces. The site chosen is 10 heavily-wooded acres next to the new Dexter High School on Parker Road. The library currently sits in the core of Dexter Village and benefits all residents of the District with its close proximity to Downtown businesses and its walk-ability to almost 2,000 residents. In addition to furthering the sprawl mentality, the proposed new location will be accessible only by car, eliminating all other options for accessibility.
> This decision was made without consulting Village or Township officials and without any public input, despite numerous requests for public input. Many District residents have opposed this move based on its sprawl-inducing effect on surrounding land and flawed investigation process. The proponents of this plan have stated that they see the core population and activity moving out of the Village and closer to the new high school, so they think they are actually ahead of the game.
> Please show your support for the preservation of a core community asset and vote against sprawl and against the Library Bond Proposal on June 10 at Wylie Middle School. We need all the support we can get in order to achieve a community based process.
> If you are interested, I have attached a letter recently submitted to the Ann Arbor News with more detailed information.
> For more information, questions, or if you would like to help distribute flyers, please contact Matt Kowalski at firstname.lastname@example.org or home: 424-9977.
> Thanks for your support!
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> Name: a2 news letter 5-17-02.doc
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