New Library Branch in the West End? Not Without Your Support (Meeting Sept 17th)

At the August WENCA (West End Neighbors Civic Assoc.) meeting, WENCA Secretary Maria Fitzgerald gave a brief presentation regarding a proposal to open a library branch in the West End. She was quick to point out that we are not talking about reopening the type of branch the West End had before Sandy. We are talking about something new and much more useful to residents. Unlike the previous West End Branch that didn’t reopen after the storm, the proposed new branch will be more centrally located and take full advantage of all the technological and socially interactive advances that have propelled modern libraries into the future…and back into people’s busy lives. Including use for senior citizens, book clubs, and after-school programs (a list of more proposed benefits in just a moment).

But—and a BIG but at that—Library Board President Carol Arnone and Diane Parr (our recently elected Library Board Trustee and long time West End resident) were adamant that without significant community support via petitions and a showing at the September 17th Library Board meeting, the Library Board will not be able to approve the funds. Maria Fitzgerald emphasized that the community really needs to demonstrate its desires and also its plans to use the library in order to make the financial commitment worthwhile. Keep in mind that each West End residence pays $100 to $200 each year in their taxes to fund libraries next to City Hall and the new larger and updated Point Lookout branch that most of us don’t get to use for fear of losing a parking spot in our pedestrian friendly community.

Proposed Location: 901 W. Beech St. (former location of Crossfit: King of the Beach)

Anticipated Opening: January 2015

Proposed Services:

  • Emphasis on technology: computers, tablets, printers, fax, copiers, scanners, high-speed Internet for residents to use
  • E-book checkouts/downloads to your PDA, assistance from the West End branch employee, search the entire library database and checkout books/videos/audio books from your home computer and pick up next day at the West End Branch
  •  Periodicals/reference materials/children’s books are expected to be available
  • Crayon Kiosk holding i-Pads (a big hit in the main branch youth services!)
  • Multi-use Community Center (day/evening use) with fun and engaging programming for all: a place to meet, share ideas, hold classes, children’s movies, musical events, games (examples include chess, bridge, board games, etc.), use for senior citizens, book clubs, and after school programs
  • West End children will be able to walk to the library (leave your car in its spot!)

Do not expect someone else to fight this battle for you. It is up to you and your neighbors. The new West End Library Branch will NOT happen without visible support from a large number of West End residents. The library board has to see that you and your neighbors want this branch.

Show up at the September 17th Library Board meeting, pm, upstairs at the Long Beach Library, Park Ave. by City Hall

Sign the petitions going around the neighborhood now!


Best Regards,

Your friends at the West End Neighbors Civic Association

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10 thoughts on “New Library Branch in the West End? Not Without Your Support (Meeting Sept 17th)”

  1. Really? Last year, the Library Board went through an exhaustive study and determined that the West End completely underused its library. I don’t think the answer, is further burdening the LB taxpayer with additional expansion of services (or some would say a duplication of services). It appears that the only argument made to open a second/duplicate library in the West End is so people won’t lose their parking spot. Really? The library budget is only so big. The rest of LB (most of which must drive to the main library in town) may not want to see a reduction in the Main Library’s services to fund the super-library in the West End. Then again, just raise everyone’s taxes. Just waiting for someone to say the tax increase will be really small…. the price of a cup of coffee….

  2. Sounds like none of you were ever in the West End Library. Honest, were you? The branch was more for kids, with a very small selection of “best sellers” on the shelves. It was also often used by local seniors who would walk there to read a newspaper or magazine. There would be no reason for my “parking space” neighbors to go because it was so limited- they’d go right to the main branch. But it was a great asset for the walking/biking kids, a quiet place for homework, activities, etc. I can’t fathom the “exhaustive study” mentioned above. The “previous year” was Sandy. Absurd to measure utilization based on any recent years. Did they use a little clicker to count how many people came in the doors through the seaweed?

    Before Sandy, the branch had recently moved and the hours and days cut back further, and often changed. (kind of like the Shoppers Special.) Before this move, the branch was completely closed for months when they lost the lease to the original location. I’m sure all these things cut down on use, though I doubt anyone did an “exhaustive study.” Adults didn’t hang out at the West Branch. It was for kids and seniors and other “walkers.”

    We all know there’s hardly any decent places for kids to relax and do positive things in this town. The West End Library should be expanded, opened at least 5 days a week, especially after school hours.

    Many of us down here voted for our new Library trustee because she supported a West End branch. It would cost very little compared to the City’s PR campaigns. I’m sure the cost of the Trolley could have funded the branch for a year. Guess you trolls would rather have the kids hanging out on the street?

  3. So, last year (2013) someone did an “exhaustive study” of WE Library use the previous year and found use down. In the year following Sandy? That sounds like good research to you TMIF? Use for *everything* was down that period. You should visit the West End sometime to see what it’s really like- there’s a lot more interesting stuff going on than you appear to think. Actually, I’ll guess you’re an out of towner, maybe absentee landlord, since all you’ve concerned with is taxes, not quality of life. Maybe look at what your taxes are buying, things like paving parks, that makes quality of life worse, not better.

  4. Here we go again – dangling kids in front of voters to get their money. So if youre against speed cameras, another library, lowering LBs speed limit, raising taxes, etc., you’re against children .

  5. Nice try Bob! If you don’t like the message, kill the messenger! The exhaustive study presented last year looked at the usage of the West End Library both BEFORE and AFTER Sandy. Use was so low, renewing a lease couldn’t be justified. Bob, get in your car like everyone else and go the Main Library!

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