Inside of a dog it is too dark to read

Originally posted on Olyblog by Crenshaw Sepulveda

Of the many places downtown I find that I have a special place in my heart for the library. I know that it is a crappy late 70’s building and it is way overcrowded. Actually I kind of like the crowd. It tells me that Olympians really use their library. I like that I see people from all walks of life there. And though it is a late 70’s vintage building it seems to have taken on a special character due to the people that frequent it. Besides it is right next to Fertile Ground and Media Island and the cool street furniture and art at the intersection, and you all know how much I love intersections.

We do need a new library, not to reduce the crowds or the proximity between users, I like the cheek and jowl that goes on at the library. Any new building would represent what the community wants in the library, hopefully from the get go. No doubt it will evolve from there. I suspect that there will be a new library in our future. I’d like to see a larger library, to be sure, with more materials available on the shelf. I’d like to see more room for the various functions that currently require rationing by the library.

I’d also like to see that the library, when the new building is built, provide some new services for the public. I’d like to see later hours. At least to midnight. I’d like to see year round Sunday hours. I’d like to see public showers. Huh? Hey, if you are going to build a building from the ground up it is at that point you add the features needed by the community. One of the things that the homeless need in Olympia is a place to shower, and also do laundry. So adjacent to the library, when it is built, I’d propose a wash room, staffed by volunteers where people could shower and do laundry. The library, by its very nature is a drop in center for the homeless, and a finer place I can’t imagine. Let the library be more humane in the future, longer hours, a place to get clean and to clean up your act.


[Jade commented:]

I've long been a fan of libraries and the library profession. (You may have heard me go on my Washington Law Library tangent.) If there is one thing we can be proud of innovating as a country, its the library. Libraries make me truly proud to be an American.

I also like the crowdedness of our library. I like the awkward tension that you get when you have to step over someone or squeeze by them in the aisles. I mean, I don't like it in a perverted way. I like it because you feel like like you know someone's secret-they are in the same 100 of the Dewey Decimal system as you. Its like you're part of some conspiracy of people having an affair with the same non-fiction.You politely pretend to not notice what they're reading, but internally you take note.

While the internet has many wonderful benefits, it will never offer that.I appreciate technology, but analog is my first and greatest love. And the library is the best that tactile, analog information has ever created.

I have long been an advocate of replacing our (so-called) education system with libraries. If libraries had all the resources of schools, then academics would be hired on as references. We would have floors of our libraries just dedicated to brilliant minds as human references. We would end compulsory schooling and private universities all together. All you would need is a local address and learning would be free. (As long as you returned your borrowed materials.)

We could librarize other resources, too. Someone I know told me that at their home-town library you could borrow framed art for a period of three months. I've seen libraries where you can borrow puppets and toys.In the Boston area the libraries give away a limited number per day of free passes to local educational and historical attractions like museums, gardens, and the aquarium.Tools, art supplies, media equipment, moving trucks?

I concur, Crenshaw. We should fund the bejeezus out of the library. Its at once the most effective government project to date, and the most successful revolution.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm liking what Meta has been saying about the library. The library should be our real civic center. I think this has huge amount of merit. A real What This Town Needs. I think the the planning for the library is in early enough states that public input can really shape its future. I, for one, welcome the opportunity. I also like the idea of looking for grant funding to incorporate other uses of the new library, vis a vis, showers, day care, community garden, and way many other things. Not all might be there, but we can dream.

Just an intersection

9:26 PM  
Blogger Meta said...

Let's take all of this to the July 25th library meeting of the city council. Also, if you know anyone at the library, the city, or other related positions, let's pull them in to help us refine and prepare a cohesive proposal. Decision-makers tend to like it when citizen do a lot of the groundwork--it makes it easier for them to say YES to ideas that would otherwise involve too much staff time. Political feasibility is in our grubby little paws. Let's plant it and see what happens!

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Centralia the library is in a park. A very nice park, not unlike Sylvester Park, but with lush green beautiful trees. The park has a pagoda and some military monuments, but it is a lovely place. I'm thinking libraries and parks go together, thus it should be part of the next Olympia Library. So we have a library in a park, we certainly have room for some other important features, vis a vis, shower/laurdry facilities. I can see the civic center aspect. Day care, Free School. I think we are moving in the right direction.

11:07 PM  

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