Sawyer Free new building plans, Prudence Fish weighs in, and public meeting for net-zero green sustainability concerns Feb 5th 2019

Besides the architectural firm, library staff, and library Trustees (including those serving on the New Building committee and the Saunders House committee) there were just a handful of people present for the January 30, 2019 Sawyer Free Public Library new building presentation. There will be monthly Building Committee (“BC”) progress meetings as follows: 2/27, 3/27, and 4/24.

 

sparsely attended presentation mostly architectural firm_ library trustee_ new building and saunders committee members_20190130©catherine ryan
photo caption: Sawyer Free Public Library, Matt Oudens presentation, January 30, 2019, Options 3 & 4 (quite small audience included members of the library Trustees, new building committee, Saunders House committee, and a few residents)

 

The architect stated that the current building was horrible and doing nothing for us, that the new building would improve the look, mediate between old and new, and most importantly provide a strong presence on Dale Avenue. Indeed, The driving goal stated by the Trustees and building committee is to make a statement building that claims a greater presence on Dale Avenue.

I feel that Sawyer’s impact via Saunders and from Dale Avenue (and the back) are elegant. Do we need another City Hall? The library already has a strong individual design identity and at different scales. There’s a possibility for enhancement, but I’m less confident with examples presented by this team. They continue to describe the library in negative terms. They did not consider honoring or determining the delirious, exceptional qualities of this library’s already enviable assets, civic center balance, and Gloucester.

New building projected to cost 30 million + and is All staircase / books begone

Preliminary plans Option 3 and Option 4 were touted. Unlike prior reveals, these plans do include and illustrate the cherished historic Saunders House, the beloved Rando Memorial Garden (described as “the random garden could be preserved”), and a setback from the street (Dale Avenue). One allowed preservation of the north side space that’s there and sensitively sited by Monell.

However, the new options continue to put forth a three story building dominated by an unwieldy progressive or processional staircase  (“usable bleacher seating”) and the children’s services on the top floor with an “occupiable terrace”– an absurd design flaw roundly dismissed by patrons, corporators and experts since first iterations were presented late 2016.  Since they’ve been working on this for years, and options 3 & 4 are only slightly different than what was initially proposed (the “components” were shifted but still there) why aren’t all the plans readied? The earlier plans* had the progressive staircase along the South side of the Monell building. *see below

The efficient Monell building can welcome and disperse 150+ guests for a lecture or presentation on its main floor without any elevator crush. Just as with homes, aged or injured appreciate that the main floor embraces a one level plan. The current entrance steps are few. Existing accessibility options are sufficient for any population. Similarly, bustling children’s services programming — like caregiver laptime– have multiple access options. There is never any stroller traffic jam at the elevator or entrances. We used to line up our strollers outside. As a mother of twins, access to the outdoors (North side and Dale) was a most welcome part of programs and sometimes necessary for “family time” (e.g. swift exit for overtired bawling!) Navigating a rooftop green space terrace and a purposeless overgenerous statement staircase with toddlers and a double stroller would have been my idea of a nightmare. I’m not sure patrons or staff would be excited to bring a group of toddlers on a roof or staircase for serious running around & playtime, but that’s not a problem on the ground floor. Prior to 2014 a couple of Trustees had spoken with me about a climbable public sculpture commission to enhance that outdoor space. It’s funny to hear it being described as dispensable.

Also confounding was the idea behind a glassed in children’s extra room: it would afford adults choices for seating or reading outside the space with the option of observing their charges signed up for some children’s programming. I found that a)creepy because it also underscores welcoming observation by anyone and b)depressing as it misses the point entirely of literacy and building community. I sought library programming to experience with my children and friends and foster connections. (I suppose it could be some type of babysitting amenity??)

  • New Sawyer library building preliminary plans _20190130_ options 3 and 4 not markedly different than options shown 2017 © catherine ryan

 

scituate mom carrying kid on stairs.jpg
photo caption: Scituate was one of two libraries (the old one “very dated and ugly inside not unlike this one…similarly required aerating”) shared as model examples. Note the mom carrying the kid on the dominant staircase. The second model example was Webster which looked similar to the new hospital builds in Burlington.

Prudence Fish reflects on the meeting

I wondered what others felt about the meeting. Prudence Fish writes:

“The meeting of the building committee last week concentrating on a rebuild plan for the Monell building initially gave the audience a certain amount of confidence and relief that a decision had been made to proceed with a plan that would retain the Monell building and bring it into the 21 century. Our bubble burst when the committee was asked if this meant demolition was off the table and were told that nothing was off the table.

This process has gone on for over two years. It will still be years before they break ground and even more years before a ribbon cutting. This process has become a painful never ending ordeal. Throughout this time the projected costs have escalated. The money spent on plans with no immediate end in sight is increasingly extravagant.
It goes without saying that the building should be as green as is possible. However, this is in a local historic district and is also in a National Register District. It is unlikely that the National Trust for Historic Preservation would ever approve or endorse the demolition of an existing 40 year old building in order to build a net zero or green building replacement.

It’s time to cut to the chase and move things along with common sense and a plan that is affordable and meets our needs within the walls of the Monell building.” – Prudence Fish reflecting on the January 30, 2019 meeting

Some Q & A from 1/30/19

*I think the consultants should transcribe the meetings and collect & consolidate prior feedback so as to avoid misstating comments such as no knowledge of the community’s green concerns or that the north side from their understanding is not used. The library Trustees can provide accessible links on the website and print outs for the meetings.

Question  Are nimble renovations, major adaptive reuse, or tear down more green? Is keeping the building the same size more green? Of plan options 3 & 4 which is more green? How about leaving the building pretty much the same? Why is there so much emphasis on more windows if green goals are desired? How can you talk about net zero when you demolish one building to build another? In the effort to meet programmable needs can sustainability needs be met?

Answer- According to the presenters, because the architectural firm is now realizing just how important green building is to the community, they encourage us to join the building committee for a public meeting Tuesday February 5, 2019 to delve into these questions. The architectural firm announced that it had not realized just how concerned Gloucester was with green builds and as such brought on a consulting expert to join their team. Emphasis on green design was a huge concern two years ago during every public meeting.  There will be a meeting about the new building and green design Tuesday February 5, 2019. 5:30PM

Question- Does plan 3 have more parking? Can a parking lot be added to the North side? (“North” side is the space between Central Grammar and the library. The few people present said please preserve this green space corridor which is consistent public feedback.) How does designing for more cars line up with green concerns?

Answer – Maybe. “We need to study everything further; The plans are very preliminary.”  (Three guests expressed preserving the North side green space.)

Question: What is the size of the new plan?

Answer- 26,000 to 27,000 but again these plans are preliminary. They believe the plans are within what’s allowable, but “no matter municipal amendments overrides zoning.” *known as Municipal Dover amendments

Question: Do the plans require more staff? Do the plans require more janitors?

Answer: staffing will likely be the same operationally. A new building will cost less to run and may require less staff by design. (Wait– more staff has been requested and is there proof to support those claims. More building can cost more…)

Question-Does presentation of plans 3&4 mean that tearing down Monell is off the table?

Answer. No. This process will take 3 or 4 more years and we’ll work with the architectural firm through each option in detail. Furthermore the building committee and architects stressed that a renovation would most likely be more money so the options presented tonight may be a moot point. Approaches of adaptive reuse (like options 3 & 4 presented at this meeting) “may be significantly more money!”

Question- where are deliveries, storage, trash and behind the scenes work accounted for in the plans? (I’d add where are archives, digitization crowd source options, etc).

Answer – the plans aren’t granular at this stage.

Question-Is the feasibility study due in May or June?What exactly are we fundraising for if the plans aren’t decided? What will be the demonstration for donors?

Answer- We do have to begin fundraising. (A fundraising firm has been contracted.) The building is estimated to cost more than 30 million based on the timeline.

 

 

Further questions

Where has the art gone? Can we bring the art back?

How will Saunders House be integrated and featured?

Are there any women on the new building committee? Do any of the members have children under 18 years of age? under 14 years of age? Have any of them had experience with managing an architectural build of this scale, one that’s open to the public and boasts enviable assets including historical properties, archives and collections, green space, and specific security concerns?

Where has the emphasis on books and literacy gone? Have the Trustees, committees and architects seen Once Upon a Contest selections from Cape Ann Reads initiative? Cape Ann Reads was co-founded by Library Director Deborah Kelsey. It’s my understanding that the trustees are driving this new build.

The most frequented and photographed library spaces at the Boston Public Library and New York Public Library continue to be the classic reading rooms. Retired New England patriots player and new children’s book author and program developer Martellus Bennett was inspired by the classic wrap around library as depicted in Beauty in the Beast, and Harry Potter fans of all ages admire its enviable repository environs. Is there something to learn from the Cape Ann Museum proposal for a new building targeting one year and under 5 million? Can a design competition be opened up, requiring build out completion in less than two years and under 5 million? Can immediate expansion and attention to bathrooms, renovation and expansion of children’s services, new staff hires, and maximizing lovely Saunders happen ASAP? What are the possibilities for any beneath ground (or beneath parking lot) solutions or connections as with the underground walkway between the National Gallery buildings?

You can peruse the library new building plan options offered on the architect’s website (when the staircase was on the south side). The architect is keen on pillow seating options on a wide staircase (dated High Line-esque without any presentation spot or view).

Matt Oudens selling Gloucester build on his site now

old plans
first options, big statement building with big staircase with pillows

Since 2013 How much money has been spent

  • on marketing
  • on the Saunders House
  • on the main building
  • on the new building pursuit

 

 

32 thoughts on “Sawyer Free new building plans, Prudence Fish weighs in, and public meeting for net-zero green sustainability concerns Feb 5th 2019

  1. At first glance this is rather overwhelming. Will have to look more carefully tomorrow. But at first galnce it looks as though the library is trying to compete with the temple which to my eye is an eyesore in that historic area. Thought we had a Historical Commssion to see things like that didn’t happen.
    I read as far as the library “not meeting our needs”. Whose opinion is that? I’m happy with the library though not with all of the recent changes re use.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for stopping by google gal and adding in. I like the Temple. There is a city 1)Historical Commission and 2)a Historic District commission (has authority). Both groups have people following this process though the library pursuit is not regularly meeting with either. Representatives from each are on various library sub committees (for example the Saunders House committee) so if they state that there is NO ongoing comprehensive communication with the new build and these groups, and they did state that at this meeting discussed at length in this post, I defer to their experience.

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  3. I am away so cannot attend any of these meetings.Appreciate the opportunity to read this stuff. I just don’t understand the obsession with changing what works. Have never heard anyone complain about the library myself. Seems to be change for the sake of change and a ton of money spent in the process. BTW I dislike the look of the temple so much I look away when walking by it. Downtown Gloucester has a certain character and that building just does NOT fit in.It’s like thumbing a nose at the architecture that exists. The Miami Vice senior ctr was bad enough, but that immediate area has little architectural interest. Middle St and Dale Ave have a ton of historical character that should be respected and saved IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, google gal, for reading. My impression is that many people care about the historical character and architecture. (Did you see the story about the original historic signs– Gloucester was missing just one :)?) I see how if you have concerns about a modern build there, and add a new Sawyer Free-Saunders building that feeling could be amplified.

      I’d like to stop in front of the Temple with you one day and have you look just a bit. For readers who may not know the Temple had to be built because of a tragic fire next door on Middle Street in 2007 that took one life.
      The architect, Maryann Thompson, design salvaged and re-purposed the doors –originally Gloucester First Parish Church– and the roof line steps back sensitively and bows to the special skyline beyond –Saunders, City Hall, etc. I’ll add a photo from that perspective I love. And here are a couple views now: vintage card from my collection and shown on HarborWalk depicting doors so you can compare to how they’re installed at Temple now 2)models site and scale.

      temple vintage doors incorporated design

      room

      With the terrible Wakefield church fire and this one on Middle, one must admire the efforts at Gloucester meetinghouse Foundation efforts to fireproof and care for the UU Church. There is so much history to celebrate and care for downtown.

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  4. I read your angry rant, which from what I hear is pretty normal for you.
    Since I am a retired librarian I have a little more on the ball than you when it comes to library design.
    Having a Children’s Library on an upper floor is what almost all new libraries have. It is done for safety.
    The current library has children’s on the ground floor. That is unsafe.
    Having open stairways is something that serves multiple uses.
    As for the amount of time it takes from start to completion can be 7 to 10 years in some cases.
    I would go on, but that would be a waste of my time.
    It is obvious you know nothing about library construction , nor have you visited any.
    It seems to me as if they are working towards a remodel, which I like.
    You never mention the plan that was submitted to get the 9,000,000.00 from the state.
    That money was based on 27,000 sq ft. That allows for the space and programs our children need in todays world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and contributing, Linda. Your comment pushes me to clarify that the Q&A in the post was direct transcription. I have questions about the art/collections and design but as you see there were already many questions from the floor and remotely (Paul on speakerphone). The bulk were related to sustainability at that meeting. I hope the Trustees invest in more librarians and raise the pay to that of Beverly.

      Here is a link to MBLC construction projects and a detail of Massachusetts library construction projects from an older promotional poster. I’ve visited most of the libraries on the poster. MBLC library projects

      I agree open stairways can be great and intentional. It is not safer (fire, violence, active shooter, neglect, unsavory activities, dicey visitors, etc) with this design to have children on the top floor nor is it required. There are architecture trends and best practice standards that come and go, even ones that came about from best intentions, cost considerations & safety concerns. Two quick examples: 1)Asbestos was an unfortunate and tragic grand fire retardant and sound proof best practice for decades. 2)Now we know that wide open-space corporate office layouts don’t work and have negative impacts. New design to remedy disastrous large open space design is booming.

      Great buildings have been demolished for no good reason at all in the name of progress and safety and replaced with the opposite. New York City Penn Station is one such travesty.

      Thank you for mentioning the money*. I have written about the flawed plan that was submitted and controversy (e.g. Saunders not considered) that’s ensued. There’s always more to add. Besides the local new Cape Ann Museum build I’ve mentioned, here is a another recent comparable. Bowdoin’s new Roux Center for the Environment is approximately 30,000 ft’. The planning phase took 9 months. The build out took 14 months and the project cost less than 15 million (seeded with 10 million from the Rouxs). The Sawyer Free project is more than double that cost and the planning phase is many times past. I don’t believe it’s set in stone. It doesn’t have to be.

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  5. As a neighbor that lives on the same street as the library. We already have a major parking issue I think changes to library will impact parking and create more issues for residents. My children frequent the library daily and we love as is. Maybe some updates to material but not whole new lavish building.
    I don’t see need to waste money on something that is fine the way it is!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What or who is actually driving this “new” library idea? I thought it was over after the last plan was turned down by the public at large. I realize I’m getting off topic now, but am wondering if recent changes indicate anything that library users actually asked for.I thought the library was fine the way it was. I don’t see the recent changes as improvements and know others who share the opinion. There seems to be a strong push to make it a community and teen center for activities other than reading and learning. Was there community input re any of these changes? We do have City Hall right across the street with a large space for meetings if that is an issue, and a Y teen center around the corner that seems a far more appropriate place to be playing video games and horsing around. Just one card holder’s opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just as a fyi there is no more Y teen center as they had before. Since the past summer’ and the counselor issue the center closed. So now there is no center where they can spend their time after school like these teens did before. The teen center building turned into some walkin heath care. So again resources are limited for these kids. There fore they do now hang out at library nothing much else to do when they have nowhere else to go.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jenny, did not not know about any counselor issue or that it closed. (Isn’t there still a sign up?) So the Y has just walked away from offering teens programs as a result? That doesn’t sound right. I agree there needs to be an alternative, but the library isn’t suitable unless those kids want to spend their time reading or doing anything quietly. It’s been my experience they do not. Are parents working at creating an alternative? In the old days there were CYO’s. Can churches step up to the plate?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi google gal- I thought everyone heard well the backlash of one person and his crime closed the teen center. Yes Y is open but no more teen center and no free programs so again teens that have parents that are low income in this area which is a lot have no where to go. As we can not afford. I don’t see the issue with teens having a place at the library and being productive rather then be out and about becoming another addict and getting into trouble. Most libraries now offer more than reading…and usually is a separate area than others.. So I don’t understand what the fuss is about. I for one would rather have the kids have a safe place to go then out on the corner. Resources here are much limited than I have seen in other cities. Again…who has money to hang out at food places constantly…who can pay for memberships or programs that costs money. My children do participate in volunteer work but again this city is very limited.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Jenny, I understand the problem of teenagers with nowhere to go, but I just don’t see a library as a suitable place other than for studious kids. Have you spent time there and seen the kids chasing each other, squealing, running into stairways or getting worked up playing video games and understandably making lots of noise in the process? They want to horse around and let off steam which is perfectly natural and need to be in a place where that kind of behavior is acceptable. A library is not that kind of place. Sounds like a problem the mayor and/or the schools, the Y and possibly churches should be dealing with. I know the Y has discounted rates for seniors, do they not have the same for low income families? Again, I understand the problem, but think the city as a whole should be directing its efforts toward providing some sort of teen space. Saddling the library with it is not fair and is driving out those seeking a quite space to read and learn. I realize times change, but have libraries ever been a place to make noise?

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Google Gal – you are not alone. Did you see this notice of Beverly complimented for its quiet? Friends love the fireplace area at Manchester Public Library. Saunders has spaces like that. Some kids like quiet, too. My husband does not want to work there now because it does not have enough quiet nor as many tables as it once did or study carrel serious study options.

          Beverly Library

          I love both– the sounds of kids, and a good quiet spot when I need to research or write. Libraries need to serve patrons of all ages and space needs. The best ones meet that design.

          The city administration, schools, organizations, and generous sponsors coordinate and underwrite entirely or partially a variety of options for kids and teens. The library offers day passes to museums. Jenny’s comment had me wondering: Perhaps the trustees can purchase coupons and passes for treats from area businesses (coffee, frozen yogurt, pizza slice, bakery, cookies, day gym, movies or art classes) and help them out. I don’t mean to ask the small businesses for more donations just underscore that they can use some love too! I advocate for free admission at museums and theaters for all kids under 18 and if that isn’t the case for operating expenses at our wonderful area institutions perhaps we can direct funds that way.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Here are some pictures of the main floor with the relocated teen space as it is now (photos are different days/months in 2018)

          and BEFORE when it wasn’t a teen space (when the teen space was on the top floor) this particular photo is from 2016

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    2. What people seem to forget is the current building was designed to provide services over 40 years ago. The world has changed as have the needs of the community. The money for a remodeled or new building are coming from private donations. Why is an outdated and unsafe building good enough for Gloucester?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Linda ray, thanks for adding to the discussion and pointing to the budget again. The MBLC grant money is state funding which is not private donations. The project is municipal (gray zone municipal) so it’s public, although the process has not been transparent. The library has to fund raise because they don’t have the money. The pursuit has diverted money from outdated and identified needs — for years now. The public feedback has been consistent — since 2013. People express that a tear down and ill suited design is not good enough for Gloucester.

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        1. First of all the 9 million dollar grant the SFL received was based on an plan based on programming needs in the city. It is public money, but if we do not take it another city will. I have been to at least 9 or 10 meetings and the estimate for private donations is 11- 15 million. That’s is what a library cost based on cost per square foot. Check it out.
          My suggestion is you go over the bridge and check out some other libraries.
          As for safety, our library was designed by Monell who was not a library architect. He designed the CAM, which is totally different than a library.
          The SFL has the children’s next to a main exit and adult bathrooms, enclosed stairwells and bad sightlines.
          17,000 sq ft is not enough for today’s community needs.
          My suggestion instead of being a bomb thrower , you educated yourself on modern library design and the needs of our youth and city.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Hi Linda and thanks for continuing the conversation.

          The community has been consistent about addressing the bathrooms for sometime. In 2014, the “immediate objectives will be working with the library’s board, staff and volunteers to review the library’s collections for relevance; revamping the building’s public and staff spaces; overseeing installation of a modern heating and air conditioning system, and mentoring staff in their professional development…”

          June 2014 targeted goals

          And nearly a decade prior, SFL planning for the parking lot was in part as placemaking hold for future building needs. No one has suggested loss of children’s wing, teen space or less bathrooms. The teen space on the top floor under Cindi’s direction was larger than the corner carved out on the ground floor of late. The librarians are wonderful.

          The projected cost is greater than 3x the 9 million from the state. One comparable I’ve listed above for the same size building and complicated programming needs was Bowdoin which cost less than 15 million to build.

          Generous donors gifted precious art and artifacts to the city for the public pride at SFL, and Saunders itself is such a work of art– thinking about museum design too for SFL seems quite apt. Storage space, climate control, insurance riders and security is common and there are new and cost friendly solutions.

          Have you seen the plans for the new Dartmouth Mass library (same proposed architect) 14,000 sf’ with feasibility studies back to 2007? Children’s wing is on the ground floor and a 534 ft’ area for teens; the entire branch will be a single story build.

          dartmouth rendering

          In a prior comment above I provided the link to the MBLC site with all the projects and a great poster they did. I have visited most of them. I’ll share again.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. linda, oddly it is you who are throwing bombs here. Catherine (who I don’t know) sounds very reasonable & exceedingly polite to me. She just happens not to share your opinion. The last time this issue was “on the table” it seemed to be motivated by the money available more than a desperate need for a new library: There is only so much space in that spot; some of us are happy with the library as is and turned down all that destroying the library and buiding a new modern one would entail once already. Since the Y is supposed to be moving to Gloucester Crossing, maybe that building could be turned into a sort of library annex for children and teen center. Looking at the plans I can’t see any major transformation that would be worth so many millions of dollars. I contribute what I can to the library, but would not contribute toward destroying the building to make way for eyesore that would take away the green space currently in existance. I’m sure there are communities that don’t have suitable libraries (or any!) that could make better use of the funding.
          No bombs, just my opinion.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t attend any meetings now. How is the building unsafe? The biggest change I see over my life has been technology. How would tearing down and replacing the building help us with that? On the other hand a tech guru on site to help us with problems and questions would certainly be beneficial. Paying for assistance gets very expensive and doesn’t usually leave us (me) any more knowledgeable. To me the library should be a source of education. Perpetually running classes like the old Hard Disc Cafe had was great some 20 years ago. I wish it were easy to learn this info from reading, but I absolutely cannot.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi google gal- that’s an interesting comment identifying a tech assistance need (vs technology infrastructure costs which have come way down!) Leveraging teaching and subscriptions (expensive journals, university libraries, expensive software for startups, teaching, etc) are common public feedback in SFL public gatherings and SFL has made some strides. Also mentioned was coordinating with Rose Baker and higher ed (like Endicott and now GMGI) so as not to duplicate efforts, to work together for grants and goals and scheduling. Re: your computer point specifically–There are local area tech companies and experts. It would be wonderful to support the private sector, too, and pay the consultants brought in for free programming.

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    3. Hi Google Gal- yes the teen center is closed and has come and gone around that spot more than once. Every teen will never go to one spot. Some teens find their way to the library as they always have and always will. Library patrons are all ages and that will not change. Some teens have part time jobs. Some hang outside of school at area businesses. Friendly’s was one on half days before it closed. Pleasant Tea, Lone Gull, Poseidon’s, captain hooks and Cafe Bischo are popular. The YMCA is still open at Middle with programming and open rec offerings. If there wasn’t a $5 or any drop in fee the basketball courts would be busier. Schools are amazing – O’Maley and GHS have broad offerings beyond sports and music programs which are as busy as ever. Teens volunteer at area organizations through places of worship like the Temple, Maritime Gloucester, Backyard Growers, Open Door etc. Non profits cater to other interests, i.e. Cape Ann Art Haven. There isn’t a design emergency here and all of these organizations try to work together and offer transportation options, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The only adult I know who doesn’t have problems with technology are those that work in the field. Most of us seniors are totally frustrated trying to make our way. Maybe those young people horsing around at the library (assuming they are more proficient than we are at technology) could mentor the seniors. Now that would be a positive use of their energy.
    If there already are as many organized options for teens as you say, I am that much more befuddled by the idea that the library must accommodate them when clearly most teens don’t have quiet in mind, particularly after school. How could providing a huge screen and computer games create anything but noise? Librarians are then put in the position of having to control them and that isn’t fair to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny thing is you are not an architect, builder, librarian or a member of the MBLC who approved the plan based on what in their judgement fulls the needs of the city for the 21st century.
        You have a right to your opinion, but that’s it you are not an expert in design or the needs of the city.
        The MBLC has approved many designs that are similar to ours.
        You seem to focus on the outside and use the inside design, which you know nothing about, to make your point.
        At one Building Committee I attended, the Vice Chair stated would build around Monell if remodel was the choice or honor Monell if rebuild was the choice.
        As for Ms Fish, she is worried about protecting the look and feel of the Historic District and supports better and more modern programming. She is a wonderful dedicated person and shouldn’t be used as a pawn in your efforts.
        Also some of your illistrations are from the first design, which as was stated in the GDT and many meetings the outside was a place holder and NOT the final version.
        I would like to know what libraries you visited the dates and who you spoke to.

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  8. Nice one Cathy, deleting my posts which call into question your background to demean a library architect’s design, when you have no training in the field.
    You are just what the city needs!

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  9. It’s a beautiful opportunity and singular in many ways. Downtown Gloucester Sawyer Free Public Library boasts great collections, staff, archives, Saunders House (entrance on Middle needs to be opened), Monell, fine art, Matz Gallery, garden and green spaces, parking lot– what bones to work with!

    Dec 2016

    March 2017 Davidson Room Saunders SFL

    Jan 2017

    May 2017

    Feb 2017

    May 2018

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