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.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Last week was National Library Week

Last year's post on the subject links to a lot of good reports and resources on creative approaches to the creation of libraries, including at the neighborhood scale.

I argue that libraries need to be repositioned as central neighborhood civic assets with more dimensions than "just books" as community knowledge and cultural centers.

-- "The DC Central Library, the Civic identity and the public realm

The reality is that libraries are moving in this direction, and maybe in some cases too far, as many people argue that in the digital age we might not need libraries at all.

1.  A couple weeks ago the Washington Post Sunday Magazine had a couple stories on libraries, on the director of the DC Public Library ("Meet the man who is turning D.C. libraries into a national model") and the community outreach and involvement activities of a librarian at the Anacostia branch ("She's a children's librarian, but you might be surprised").  I was impressed with the latter article especially.

There is no question that in the past few years, DC's public library system has become much more focused on outreach, programming, and connecting with the neighborhoods around the branches.  For example, the Petworth branch is a meeting point for neighborhood walks, other branches show films, etc.

2.  But DC's public library system is hardly a national model of excellence.  That headline is hyperbole, and a symptom of how because DC is the capital of the still strongest nation in the world, people believe whatever we do, ordinary or not, somehow qualifies as world class.

I don't believe that there is anything being done by the city's libraries that other systems in the US or Canada have already been doing for years.

And I argue we had an incredible opportunity to be not just best in the nation, but maybe the world, in a reconceptualized and extended central library, along the lines discussed above as a premier knowledge, learning, and cultural space unlike few others.

It is a tragedy that this opportunity will be lost to the city for at least two to three generations.

3.  Note that the highly touted ("The New Cathedral: D.C.'s Rebuilt Public Libraries Draw Praise for Design and Purpose," DCist) neighborhood library rebuilding program was important (preceding the current director), but again, not exceptional, as similar programs in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle long preceded it.

As I mention the opportunity was lost to do new uses of space and integrate a broader cultural "remit" at the Central Library, the same is true with all of the rebuilt libraries, with the possible exception of Deanwood, which is integrated into a community center.  The rebuilding of the Anacostia branch in its same poorly located site, is a particular loss of an opportunity.

Imagine it having been reconceptualized as comparable to one of Tower Hamlets' Idea Stores--a combination educational center (adult learning) and library.

Although I'd have extended it even further, making it a combination educational center with participation of community colleges and universities, the base for a new and systematic adult/continuing education program in the city, and the location of a world-class workforce education initiative.

4.  Libraries are moving into the "maker space" realm in force.  The Dutch were there first, more than a decade ago ("The Maker Movement gains ground in Dutch libraries, but US libraries have been embracing this more recently too, including DC's central library.

I am particularly intrigued by how the DC central library has added The Memory Lab.  ("The DC Public Library's New "Memory Lab" Lets You Digitize Old Photos and Videos," Washingtonian) which allows people to convert old media formats to current ones.

5. On Sunday, the Post had a couple of community op-eds on libraries.  "A library where everybody knows your name" argues that library systems should focus on being smaller and community spaces, and not so much on bigger spaces in more regional locations.

While I agree about the necessity of libraries as community spaces, and that libraries need to be "remixed and repositioned" generally, breadth and location still matter.

However, there is no question that community space needs should be planned in a more rigorous and complete fashion beyond the library--the most common space outside of elementary schools--along the lines of the "integrated public realm" and system of civic assets that has been discussed here before.

For example, his point about the Mount Rainier community library misses the point that while it is small, seemingly supporting his point about smaller facilities, it is centrally located on a major street, next to the town hall and a bus transit hub, so it gets a lot more patronage than it would despite its size and if it were in a less prominent location.

6.  In this vein there is the "Library as Incubator" project/website which aims to link artists and libraries and foster the use of the space in libraries to incubate art production and arts initiatives.

This is a good illustration of the importance of having flexible spaces that support cultural production in a more systematic way through a more creative utilization of libraries as community and cultural spaces.

7.  There was a recent report about how the zine library from the now defunct Solidarity radical library in Lawrence, Kansas was donated to the University of Kansas research libraries  Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements.

This reminds me of a small public zine collection being displayed at the Great Park arts center in Irvine ("Do Zines Belong in OC's Public Libraries?," OC Weekly).

Provisions Library used to be located on Connecticut Avenue NW in DC and was a member library with publications relevant to community organizing and activism.  It didn't get enough membership and is no longer extant in the same way, but has an affiliation with the George Mason University School of Art.

I think more libraries need to develop special collections of this kind of literature, just as much as digital conversion equipment.

Why shouldn't libraries offer free space to collections like Provisions?

8.  Other special collections that I think should be adopted by more libraries include Dallas' Urban Information Center, on cities and municipal government, so that citizens can be more knowledgeable on civic matters and issues.  Although such a collection would be best augmented with programming.

And somewhere I saw a mention of an arts book circulating library in association with an arts center. Yes, most public library systems participate in inter-library loan programs but it is difficult to find more specialized publications in arts or urbanism etc.  Outside of university libraries it is very difficult to find such publications.  Public libraries should do more acquisition and development of such special collections.

The Orange County Zine Collection. 

9.  I believe I've mentioned how some libraries in Orange County, California have installed library kiosks in train stations, such as at the ARTIC railroad-bus station in Anaheim.  Fullerton was first ("Fullerton installs $35000 book vending machine," Orange County Register).

I think that's really cool, although some Republican Congressman in West Virginia disagrees, seeing it as a waste of money.  I can't seem to find the weblink now.

WRT the latter, I think it's more an indicator of the increasing irrelevance of Congress, not libraries.
Book check out machine at the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, Orange County, California.

The Toronto Public Library system has taken up the idea too, installing a station at the city's Union Station, and is considering doing so at subway stations ("Toronto library to roll out book-lending machine at Union Station," Toronto Star).

But it turns out in North America, maybe Edmonton was first, installing such a machine in 2010 at the Century Park light rail station.

10. On a negative note, if you don't turn in your library books you can go to jail, maybe, at least in Tecumseh, Michigan ("Michigan couple faces jail over lost Dr. Seuss library book," AP).

Although this isn't what it seems. As has come out in Ferguson, Missouri and other places, court fees charged to defendants can be onerous and are often used as a revenue source by local governments ("After Ferguson, States Struggle To Crack Down On Court Debt," Pew Charitable Trusts). The couple refuses to pay the "economic diversion fees" being charged to them as part of the case. From the article:
Although the couple admitted they were negligent in returning the books, they think it's unfair to each be charged a $105 "diversion fee" to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit in addition to fines owed to the Tecumseh Public Library, WXYZ-TV reported.
It's an interesting element, given that library systems often face rights and freedom of expression issues over book banning proposals.

The American Library Association should probably come out against the imposition of such fees in association with library fines and lost book legal cases.

11.  CSPAN's Book TV programming on the weekends is usually quite interesting.  We don't watch it very often but did last weekend, and ended up buying one of the books mentioned, a graphic novel, which we will be giving as a birthday present.

I think somehow, public library systems need to work more with CSPAN on rebroadcasting that programming on local community/library cable channels and in libraries--although maybe that defeats the purpose of reading by encouraging people to watch television.

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At 9:40 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

I like libraries as well, but I'd say the $188M spent to build them is more evidence of a capital budget problem.

Still I'd rather have District owned buildings look good. Let's hope they have the money to maintain them.

20,000 sq for 13M comes out to about 650 a square foot, which is what high end residential seems to be coming in at.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

as much as I romanticize the value of a robust capital planning process, only if you have some "odd duck out" like me on the committee/board, would these kinds of questions be asked.

Judging by the buildings that are produced elsewhere, other people aren't asking those questions.

However, the Idea Store concept in Tower Hamlets (Hampshire County also has "Discovery Centres") and the Pounds Centre in Portsmouth (it used to be called a community living center)

the Commuter Stores in Arlington, and some other facilities here and there (like the Shirlington Library + Theatre) do show outbreaks of rethinking.

2. So somehow we have to figure out how to build innovation capacity into the capital budgeting process.

Sure some places do co-location (West Hollywood, Seattle, Austin, Baltimore County, Arlington County, Portland) but usually these are one off projects, not built into SOP.

3. But yes, you are right also about the money issue and also the imperative of civic architecture, civic buildings being attractive.
That thinking though isn't SOP either.

4. Suzanne points out that the Combi cooker at the Blue Plains Waste Water Treatment center is an exception.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Looking again at your first sentence, I'd say both yes and no.

First, I'd say that Mayor Williams wanted to invest in libraries and rec. centers both because of how they enrich people's lives but also to show a city that can invest in itself, in assets that have long term value, that build communities.

Second, but I'd say that both programs are examples of not thinking the process through, being judicious and aiming to gain more value from doing things creativity.

E.g., there was coverage about one rec. center being built with so many restrooms they used one as storage.

I wrote a piece in 2008 about this that is still pretty good, about the need to test and prototype, but also plan at different scales.

E.g., Arlington has the facility at TJ Middle School that is an indoor track but also doubles as a community hall (like for the County Fair).

DC DOES NOT HAVE EVEN ONE SUCH FACILITY, even though we are 3x the size of Arlington.

This is why I talk about facilities planning at three scales: city-wide; sector/ward/area; neighborhood.

We don't need an indoor track in every ward (like how they are doing senior centers) but how about two, one on either side of the Anacostia River?

Then again, in my area there are residents who seemingly are advocating for an outdoor pool in every neighborhood.

... and of course, I argue for solid elementary schools at the neighborhood/multiple neighborhood scale.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Well is part of the problem is that this investment is all being siloed in DC?

For example in the w1 homeless site they are proposing a playground on the roof. (Useless during summer and winter).

Why aren't they building one in the area? Besides the Harrison Rec center.

Because DHS doesn't spend money on that.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

It's not just a DC problem, it's a govt. problem. And a failure to not have integrated capital planning.

But yes, silos are the problem.

... in the Safe Routes to School world, they make the point that investments in SRTS for walking and biking also serve the community. And vice versa.

I complain about how money building Senior Centers is poorly used, that they should be co-located, so that the facilities can be used after 5pm.

(E.g., there is one on Georgia Ave. near Petworth for W1, and another on Kennedy St. a couple miles away, for W4. Furthermore to build the one on Kennedy St. they wrecked a majestic neighborhood theater.)

But I think that because mostly federal money is used to build them, there are restrictions. (Like how an airport can't fund a transit station with airport fee funds that would be part of a metro rail system, but they can when it is separate, like the AirTrain at JFK.)

But yes, an investment in a playground should serve multiple constituencies.

Interestingly, with the little girl next door, a couple years ago we were walking by a day care center in Silver Spring on the weekend, and their playground was fenced off/locked off.

She didn't understand why she wasn't allowed to access it. Contra, the charter school around the block built their playground in their front yard and it is open to the public.

... wrt the playground, too, they are probably responding to the Petula Dvorak writings about lack of playground at DC general, but yes, to build a dedicated playground to serve 50 households is the epitome of public mis-spending.

2. when I first started working on revitalization matters, back when it was no sure thing that DC would improve and our budget was still restricted, I kept making the point that every dollar we spent needed to accomplish multiple objectives, that we had to be more creative and innovative to get the greatest possible ROI and to be able to compete with the surrounding counties, which back then had more money and an upward trajectory (in some respects our positions have reversed, or at least, DC has an upward trajectory too), and were innovating and kicking our butts.

3. the big breakthrough in Washington State for SRTS was when they decided that state monies given to local school districts for "transportation" and traditionally used for bus services, could also be used for physical improvements in walking infrastructure primarily, but also for biking.

Although the districts are still not "required" to do balanced transportation planning, they are required to create SRTS maps for all elementary schools, and it is recommended that they create school district traffic safety committees to address these matters on an ongoing basis.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

RE: Silos / Democracy

Arlington used to operate that way. And see the "ourRFP" in the hebrew home sale.

I've picked on you for the "leveraging" concept but I'm starting to see your point.

The economic and age divides in DC proper may be too much.

Back to libraries, or the original WeWork!

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

off topic:

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I haven't participated in a so-called OurRFP process in this Admin. However, I think they are based on the process that CM Wells helped initiate concerning the Hine site.

I would still argue that the process isn't robust enough and doesn't come up to the level of real "planning."

That's true of the Hine process too.

E.g., I am concerned because of the loss of a once in a few generations opportunity to get pro-city stuff out of Hine. First, there should have been more parking to support the commercial district and Eastern Market, but DDOT said there was too much.

Second, the out building north of C Street, pretty small, should have had the retail set aside as an "extension" of Eastern Market, a re-creation of the temporary "East Hall." So that the Market could expand and round out its offerings to be more competitive.

There were many other defects in the recommendations that came out of that process (which I did participate in) but these two stick out specifically.

The first one was mentioned in the process the second one wasn't.

There needed to be a basic plan in place to guide actions and preferences, not just for Hine but for the area (Capitol Hill/Eastern Market), and there isn't. So this process, like all the others, operates in a vacuum.

(SInce 2007, I've recommended the creation of an Eastern Market District master plan, and probably in late 2009 or into 2010 I started recommending the creation of a broader "Capitol Hill Destination Development and Marketing Plan" but it never happened. I tried to couch the latter in terms of what CM Ambrose did in facilitating a plan for H St. But for some reason CM Wells didn't take up the idea.)

2. Plus the Hebrew Home process seems particularly stupid to me given the homeless family relocation issue.

Why the hell doesn't the city use a facility it already owns, in a location close to two different Metrorail stations and a major bus transit corridor.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why the hell doesn't the city use a facility it already owns, in a location close to two different Metrorail stations and a major bus transit corridor."

You are assuming a level of intelligence, ability, experience and, most of all, ethical grounding in today's elected officials (world-wide) that doesn't exist. The only thing our currently-sitting politicians care about is the potential benefits to well-connected contributors/supporters.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

well I am definitely disconnected from the political process. I am more into governance than politics. The problem is that in either the Legislative or Executive branches, staff execute, they don't initiate. The electeds set the agenda.

1. Suzanne pointed out a few months ago that I have it all backwards. While I think that politicians are supposed to be focused on the future, the reality is that they and their constituents, especially at voting time, are focused mostly on today--the here and now.

2. When I was considering running for W4 Council two Aprils ago (figuring then CM Bowser would become Mayor), I talked to some Councilpeople/connected people I knew in other jurisdictions.

One person made the point that it's incredibly difficult to "move the Council" because the process of being elected convinces them that they already know what they need to know, that their agenda is the right one, etc.

They aren't running for office to treat it like a seminar, an opportunity for learning, for becoming better at it, more worldly, more aware, etc.

3. I just interviewed for an executive branch job in another jurisdiction and the thing is that other jurisdictions (at least the ones I look at) tend to have much more detailed planning/agenda setting documents than does DC.

4. Speaking of planning documents, when I was first into this I was always struck by those plan covers where they had language something like:

submitted to Mayor X and the citizens of Y

DC's planning documents don't make that connection. (And the Home Rule Charter is very Executive-centric.)

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

e.g., because of the California Environnmental Quality Act and the resulting planning processes, their plans at the state, regional, and local levels are so much more detailed than plans around here.

Although typically, local jurisdictions in states can have pretty detailed plans depending on the state level requirements (e.g., the parks and open space plans or master plans for counties and Baltimore City in Maryland).

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

Well we get the quality of political leadership we deserve. And not to be an old grump, being addicted to your twitter feed isn't helping.

But a lot of what we are arguing back and forth is strategy -- urban strategy --and i don't think planners are the best ones at implementing it.

But whom then? The politicians/councilmembers? Your analysis there is correct. Although I was reading something about best practices and mayors recently.

Again very off topic but good:

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Also this:

(I think the review misses the point, which are cities are the intersection points of a global web).

BTW my comment is not meant as an attack on "planning" and planners. Glad to hear your are interviewing.

IF i had my druthers, or several million dollars, I'd create a a post-graduate GGW to really focus on creating urban life. GGW has moved on from the kulturwar on cars (Dave has a kid now and realizes you kind of need a car for that?) but has been captured by the dark demons of income-limited housing. And you course you need a starting role on that!

Alternately, I'd use the COG to aggregate enough local blogs to start an electronic conversation. The trick is how to tie them in to the actual planners so it isn't a circle jerk.

More off topic:

and then this:

On the depth of local DC political/planning culture -- yes, DC has some advantages as a city-state, but the very small nature of the local political culture also has its limits. We only get a Mayor Williams imposed from outside every 100 years.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Lots to work through here and will get back to it.

The last first. Yes you are absolutely right, DC has advantages as a city-state but the city's hermetic "culture" dominated by a particularly static demographic group (a study up through 1990s data found that the African-American population in DC and the area was the least mobile of similar populations elsewhere) dooms it to mediocrity. (Note that Williams was "not from here." Look at our two most prominent mayoral examples of "from here.")

Like the Post article about Richard Reyes, the library director. Hey, I like him (maybe because he adopted my language about the potential of the library after a meeting, as I saw in subsequent meetings). But absolutely nothing that the DC Library system has done in the past 10 years is somehow leading the nation. Every initiative follows what has been done, for the most part better, elsewhere.

2. The other equally important thing is that "we" as a nation are in a bad place. I agree with you that planners aren't in and of themselves the best or right people. Many have lots of good ideas and approaches, many do not.

I guess the thing is somehow we need to embed a desire to do better in what we do, strive for, achieve. You know "continuous process innovation" (like Toyota).

I have no clue on how to get others to do it. It's definitely not part of how politics works.

And in the past 10 years especially, with administrations (look at Fenty, Christie, etc.) it's all become Administration-centric, little concern with maintaining and improving best practices, being very political (e.g., the GW Bridge issue) rather than doing what's best for citizens.

I don't see a way out.

I was thinking about writing about Congress' grilling of Paul Wiedefield. It's all about grandstanding, not making things work better, identifying problems and leading to structural change, etc.

WTF is Congress supposed to be doing? They are the leaders of the nation's political structure. Shouldn't they be focused on making society work better?

E.g., my complaint 11 years ago about Tom Davis being all worked up about Comcast not showing Nationals games because of a dispute between the companies, but not being at all concerned about how localities get "played" by professional sports teams and leagues in terms of stadium financing, and how that is deserving of Congressional action. Etc.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

my recent interview was somewhere in this region. One of the questions was about planning organizations at the federal, regional, and local scales and best practice, and ours.

I said TPB and BMC (Baltimore) aren't particularly innovative, although I hadn't had a chance to read the BMC equity planning initiative papers yet. The MPO that covers part of NE Maryland is out of Wilmington and they do some interesting stuff, partly because they are multistate. (But multistate in and of itself isn't enough, witness the TPB.)

I countered with MTC in SF, Puget Sound, Minneapolis, the MPOs in Southern California (each county is so big they have their own MPO), Delaware Valley in Philly which covers PA and NJ. I'm sure there are others.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

About COG. People like Mendelson and Bowser have been heavily involved. You don't see that somehow migrating into the way the city does policy and practice.

That kind of hubris isn't unique to politicians. E.g., in the Main Street world I found that people from urban programs felt they had nothing to learn from smaller places. I always thought that was stupid, because you're dealing with a district not the entire city, and at the district scale, most of the places were comparable. Regardless, I can learn from anyone.

Of course, the "Not Invented Here" reaction to best practice is a time worn response that is common everywhere.

Sometimes it is about appropriate vs. inappropriate reference groups/metrics/comparisons. E.g., in Balt. County I used to say that they were content to measure themselves solely against Baltimore City. On that dimension they would always do better in terms of economic health.

But Balt. County has a population approaching 900,000. It's the third largest jurisdiction in Maryland, and a very large county compared to many other states.

According to 2010 data, it's the 69th largest county in the US in terms of population.

They need to set their expectations much higher.

The one counter example was Mayor Gray going to conferences like US Conference of Mayors and Nat. League of Cities and hearing all the other mayors talking about sustainability planning.

That's why he took up sustainability.

But as you know from my long long response to the plan that was produced and the subsequent actions, somehow DC argues it can be the most sustainable city in the US without taking actions that meet the level of best practice already in place in other cities.

There's the WASA thing. I don't know how great the recent energy deals are, because that's just not something I know tons about. But I don't imagine they are particularly bleeding edge compared to other jurisdictions.

Anyway, this is pretty typical.

What I argued with the former planning director for DDOT in 2010 was that DC was good around 2000 in doing some best practice stuff, but it remained static, not constantly improved with new practice here and elsewhere, that even each DDOT study is hermetic, that they don't do "after action" analyses and pull out the best practice and build it into SOP for planning going forward.

Again, when you have limited resources, being wasteful and not focused on maximizing ROI is nonsensical.

At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@charlie: Thanks for the Robert Caro/Gothamist link!
Great interview. Ever since a friend of mine (who was in New York State doing health planning in the late '70s) recommended "The Power Broker," Caro has been a personal hero of mine. Still haven't had the stamina to start his LBJ books.
RL: Despite opposition from the "public," the powers that be are still trying to cram "Events DC" into the "money corner" at MLK in the renovated library.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Well, as a planner, for 10 or more years I had suggested doing the same thing, having a visitors center as part of the MLK Library.

That being said, now I argue for a more finely grained hierarchy of visitor centers in the city, with the primary visitor center being located at Union Station, and with a system of secondary centers, particularly Georgetown and Capitol Hill.

The reason to have the main visitors center at Union Station is because it is the primary entry point for people on trains + they have lots of parking and it is reasonably accessible from 395 and Rte. 50/New York Avenue. By contrast MLK is harder to reach and there isn't convenient parking.

Therefore, I no longer think MLK is a good choice.

Now I don't think a visitors center the size of the Baltimore Visitor Center at MLK, but maybe one the size of the one at the Pittsburgh History Center would be ok, sized at the scale of the ones I'd see for Georgetown and Capitol Hill. It'd be a secondary center, for downtown. But there are probably other equally good locations.

At the money corner of MLK, frankly, I'd like to see a cafe and newsstand like Vroman's in LA or the one at Pike Place Market in Seattle, along with a kind of "public reading room" space comparable to the one at Bryant Park it its heyday (when newspapers were big!!!!! it had one of those old style library newspaper racks with city papers and presumably some out of town papers).

Pike Place news stand:

Bryant Park reading rack

Not sure when I was there last, maybe last year, maybe a little longer, and this particular rack was empty.

It would be cool to have regional newspapers (DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, Richmond, WBJ, BBJ, others) and a focus on publishers based in DC for books.

Or the zine library I mentioned the other day, etc.


At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...I had suggested doing the same thing, having a visitors center as part of the MLK Library."

RL: Since I remember just about everything that comes across my radar screen, including numerous pieces you did on this concept, that was the rationale behind my post.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

u have a better memory than I. I've come across back pieces in the blog and have absolutely no memory of writing them... The big big seminal pieces I do remember. And over time, Blogger's indexing has gotten better too, which helps.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"u have a better memory than I."

Not to be bragging, but I have a better memory than most people I know. It wasn't until after college that I actually started to understand all the crap I had memorized and what to do with it. Like everything, it has its pluses and minuses.

"I've come across back pieces in the blog and have absolutely no memory of writing them..."

LOL... well you're such a prolific writer and churn out so much material that you shouldn't be surprised! I've said it a number of times before, IMHO, you do need an editor... it would make your ideas much more impactful(couldn't help myself--was being wholly sarcastic using this "word" here)!

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

Pew report on libraries.

Story in Boston Globe about circ. numbers across Massachusetts:

Difference in use of libraries between high income and low income neighborhoods:


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