Downtown library draws support

Editor's note: Our thanks to League of Women Voters member Kiffi Summa, who was kind enough to send these notes, along with a challenge to people to get involved in an important civic discussion. You can do that by adding a comment here or joining the dialog on the ISSUES List.

The Northfield League of Women Voters (LWV) devoted its "4th Monday" public meeting in June to discuss expansion or replacement of the Northfield Carnegie Library.

The meeting was hosted by Lynne Young, library director, and Mark Gleason, chair of the library board. Lynne began with a short tour of the library, which clearly illustrated the many space problems the library currently faces. There is a lack of shelf space for developing/growing the collection, but an even more pressing need is for additional work space for all the behind-the-scenes work of processing materials, inter-library services, etc.

The "needs" of an expanded new library, which might more accurately be termed the "wants" of the user public, were developed through many sessions of focus groups. These needs/wants define a lot of possibilities which now fall into new library buildings, as they seek to serve their communities. Many of these needs/wants are peripheral to the basic library services.

The large questions for Northfield will be:
- How many of these desires can we fulfill, costwise?
- How many of these desires can we fulfill on the current site, sizewise?
- How many of these desires would you be willing to give up to stay on the downtown site?

There are many defining questions yet to be asked, as well as decisions to be made. The 34 people attending overwhelmingly favored remaining on the current site, and many ideas were tossed about as to how to accomplish that goal. Lynne and Mark were very welcoming to any and all suggestions, and Lynne expressed her desire to remain in the downtown, if at all posssible.

If there were people there who did not wish the library to remain in the downtown, they did not speak.