Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Libraries roundup

1. Christopher sends us a story from the San Francisco Chronicle, Singles check one another out at S.F. Main Library," about pre-Valentine's Day literary speed dating events held as a way to promote the library system and reading. From the article:

...Four minutes later, they were back at introductions with other book-clutching speed daters. Twenty-five lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender participants, and 38 straight participants the night before, got a chance to find love before Valentine's Day during the library's first literary speed-dating events. The events drew so much interest that the library hopes to replicate them again soon.

Announced at the start of the year, each free event was designed to accommodate 36 people. Enrollment for the straight night closed at the end of January with a waiting list of 50 people, said librarian Donya Drummond.

2. The new DC library branches have been getting a lot of accolade in the press lately, such as "The Public Option: Parks and Libraries Soar: A bright library in Washington, a genre-bending garage in Miami Beach and a great new park in Brooklyn" in a roundup of the best architecture of 2010 in the opinion of the Wall Street Journal.

I am more concerned with program--what the library offers, and the idea of co-location of other DC government services, so I am not necessarily pleased with most of the efforts so far.
Watha T. Daniel Public Library, DC
Watha T. Daniel Public Library, DC. The Rhode Island Avenue facade of the building, looking northwest from 7th Street NW.

3. With regard to program for the DC library, my big concern is that we ("DC") never adequately vetted the Public Library Master Plan document produced in 2006. I complained a few years ago that in a redesign, the Master Plan was taken off the DC Library webpage. In response, they said it would be restored but to the best of my knowledge, this hasn't been done.

A link to the draft summary can be obtained from Sadly, I haven't been able to find the full report from

4. ICMA has a new downloadable report, Maximize the Potential of Your Public Library. One more thing to read...

5. Of course, public libraries around the country continue to get crushed budget-wise, as a result of government budget crises. For example, in Montgomery County, this fiscal year the library budget was cut 23%, to $28.9 million, to cover the operations--including book purchases--for 22 branches. See "At Germantown meeting, advocates plead libraries be spared budget ax " from the Gazette.

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