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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Level of service as a planning, management and funding concept: libraries

So yesterday's Post had an article, "Council member looks to extend library hours in District," on DC City Council legislation to have "expanded library hours."  The article states:

Championed by council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), the proposal would have libraries open seven days a week and until 9 most weeknights in what would be one of the most significant expansions of services since the library system was created in 1896. ...

By enshrining expanded library hours in law, the Evans bill would make it harder to decrease funding for the library system, which often finds itself among the easy targets of budget officials looking for things to cut. ...

But the mayor’s office, whose discretion would be limited by the proposed law, has raised concerns about the change.

The initiative sets for the libraries what in traffic engineering, and transit or parks planning are called "level of service" requirements.  (Now I don't think that this kind of requirement necessarily needs to be set by legislation, but by a master libraries plan, but that's an argument for another day.)

The point is to limit "discretion," because the LOS standards are considered the basic operating requirement that the agency is supposed to achieve.

If those are the standards that are supposed to be met, then funding, management, and operational requirements are set accordingly. If the standards can't be met, then the argument for "why not," usually lack of funding, can be made very clear.

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