Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Downtown Library - Public Meeting and Grant

Library architecture is one of the most common examples of "palaces for the people". Many of us have a vision of what a library looks like. When I was a kid, we mostly used an old strip-mall library that used to be next to a Delchamps at the intersection of 9th and Creighton. As I got into high school and had to do research, I started using the downtown library, the PJC library, and the UWF library. When I moved away, I began using many other libraries. The two most impressive library buildings I have used were the Boston Public Library, with its works by John Singleton Copley, and the Library of Congress (regular folks can't check out books, but you can access the resources in some fabulous reading rooms). On trips to my in-laws in northern Wisconsin I have seen the central role of Carnegie libraries in many small towns. The design of a community's library conveys much about their character.

With the construction of the new downtown library coming up, we now have a chance to shape the creation of a new palace in Pensacola. Please make plans to go to the public meeting where they will welcome comments and suggestions on the design of the new library. It will be Tuesday, Dec 1, at 6:30 pm at the downtown library, 200 W. Gregory St. Your comments will help create the building that will be a legacy of this era of Pensacola history.

This building is also going to be even better than anticipated, thanks to an energy efficiency and conservation block grant the city was just awarded. This grant will provide funding to make the new building a LEED silver certified building. These improvements will likely result in lower operating costs for the building (not to mention other environmental benefits), thereby providing an ongoing savings.

I hope you will be able to come share your ideas about the new library. As you know, I think libraries are an essential component of a successful city, and this library will provide an opportunity for us to create a signature building that reflects our values and aspirations--a true palace for our community.