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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Aurora Public Library Board Urged to Boldly Think Different on Proposed Central Library for Downtown Aurora | Continue Books, Library Models of the Past or Technology-Driven Centers of Knowledge for the Future?



When the Aurora Public Library purchased the former Beacon-News property at River & Benton in downtown Aurora from developer Joseph Vantreese, the vision was clear.

The future central library for Aurora would not be your Mom or Dad's library or even the libraries built in the first decade of the 21st century, but a bold centerpiece of a digital transformation.

However, since Vantreese passed away, the Library Board's preliminary plans have gone down the path of seeking to replicate the same library model of the past, but bigger with what many are calling a "blah" design on the inside and out.

Now, as the Library Board seeks a tax increase to pay for the $30 million facility, many people in the community are saying "whoa."

The reality is we are experiencing a digital revolution and transformation of our society.  From media to how we interact to how we connect, everything is changing as we speak, type or tweet.

But, for some reason, the Library Board's current plans are for the same basic library model, with bigger bookshelves and space.  And, yes, a few more computer work stations, too.

Many say that vision is bass ackwards and definitely not justifying a tax increase to pay for it.  And, we strongly agree.

The current plans call for an approximate 100,000 square feet of space, sticking to the primary function of the old model of libraries as a warehouse, distribution and retail center for books and other media (DVD's, CD's).  In the "new" plan, they add more some additional conference rooms and a few more computers.

Yawn.

Meanwhile, as books and content move to digital formats, smartphones, tablets and even old-fashioned laptops move media around faster than a librarian can run, there are two questions being raised.

Do we need a new central library and, if so, for what?

Viewers say yes we need a new central library, but not for books.  Most libraries around the nation today are packed with people, working on laptops, collaborating and learning, but physical media is becoming less the focus and more in the background.

Quick Fact:  Amazon.com now sells more electronic downloads of books than actual physical books

As devices such as the iPad and Kindle become more common and there are now ways to "lend" content on devices, does it really make sense to build a $300 per square foot facility to warehouse and distribute physical media?

Wouldn't those resources be much better spent on technology that provides an environment to collaborate, technology tools that may not easily be available at home and give entrepreneurs, startups and business a place of resource as well?

Is a central library with mostly more books going to be visited by the people on the far east side of Aurora, let alone surrounding communities?

One of the common complaints of the current library is that it is a daytime home to the homeless.  What if you instead built an innovative center that attracts smart people from all over the region?

Why not collaborate with education, business and technology?  In the case of education, aren't the library's primary user and students the same people?

So, what about all those books?  What happens to them if we build a library of the future instead of a library of the past?

One idea we like and appears to be gaining among the community is to keep most of the physical books and media in the existing facility for the short-term.

That current location, just two blocks from the new facility, could continue to be the host and storage for those items as they gradually get phased out and replaced with digital versions.

Some of the most frequent items could still be used in the new facility, but instead of spending millions on creating a new book distribution system that will be obsolete thanks to digital transformation, it's already in place at the existing facility.

The current library facility can't survive long, but that's okay.  By that time, most of the physical media will have been replaced.  For those that say we don't need any facility at all, old or new, we disagree.

However, we see no reason to build a new central library to simply repeat or expand the same model.

Instead, we urge our viewers to challenge the Library Board to take a deep breath, rethink their plans and come up with a vision that reflects the future, not the past.

Do librarians also become obsolete if books are phased out and replaced with digital content?  Absolutely not.

In fact, the "new" library of the future stops wasting time of librarians of being warehouse handlers, distribution sorters and book cashiers and allows them to focus more on being information guides to help people find and sort through the massive amounts of data being generated every second.

The Library Board should go back and rethink the function, use and technology first...then come up with a building design that can adapt to changing technology for decades to come.

Let's respect, but blast the past.  Give us an innovative, technology-driven, learning, collaborative center for knowledge for the future.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can we get some bunk rooms for the cold nites? How about a cafiteria? Shure would be nice to be able to sleep among the stacks of CDs and data from electronic downloads.

Anonymous said...

Most people do not have kindles or other ereaders. Have you actually been in a library lately? I go at least twice a week. People are actually checking out and reading, GASP, real books. Yes, the library definitely needs more computer work stations for those who don't have computers at home. Just a guess on my part, but if there is no computer at home, there probably is no ereader either. It could also use study carrels for those who bring their laptops to the library to work. True bibliophiles will never cheer the demise of the printed word.

Anonymous said...

I would respectfully suggest to the person above that while people may love the "printed word" that doesn't mean we must provide it any longer in today's world of digital.

Libraries can have digital versions of books and even have print-on-demand options (for a fee) for people who want paper. And, I suppose there will be certain books around for a long time to come, but it makes no sense to invest in a NEW library that is a warehouse for books.

Anonymous said...

excellent post. OLB, you guys have done a fantastic job of explaining the different visions. Hopefully the library board will change their current path. Maybe we need tech-savvy people on the board instead of library people.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone bothered to contact the library and ask about their circulation statistics? Has use and circulation of printed materials gone down significantly? Or are the library's patrons still using books and other hard-copy materials at the same or similar rates as in years past? If their circulation numbers haven't gone down much it makes sense that they would want to continue to meet the needs of the library community by keeping books in the collection, while also shifting some of the book budget to the budget for electronic media. On the other hand, if the library has noticed a decrease in the usage of books and an large increase in the use of electronic media and ebooks (you can check out ebooks at the library, by the way) a more drastic change should be considered.

Did anyone at openline bother to inquire about usage statistics before deciding what was best for Aurora library patrons?

Anonymous said...

The usage stats of the current library won't help much.

They offer physical media, not learning and collaboration tools. If they offered digital content as a choice, most people will take that.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget about the "community technology center" that was built at Washington Middle School along with the library branch there. It was a major flop, while the library branch (full of *gasp* books!) was a success and is busy every day, while the technology center hasn't been used by anyone besides Washington students for years.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt a digital transformation is underway.

Books may be around for 2-4 years...but why would you build a NEW facility intended for the next 50 years revolving around books when you know it's changing?

I like the idea of keeping the old facility to house most of the books as a transition.

I'm not interested at all in the library's current plan. I would support a bold technology-driven vision.

Anonymous said...

1:08, have you used the library lately? In addition to a lot of reference databases, you can also access thousands of ebooks to download to your ereader or tablet. LOTS of digital content there. Why don't you ask the library about the use of ebooks v. the use of regular books? Why don't you poll library patrons on how many of them own digital readers before deciding for them which they would rather use?

Anonymous said...

If the library sticks with their current blah design, I will urge my alderman to reject any tax increase for it. If the library makes a 180 degree shift and starts from scratch to think about an innovative approach, then I could support it.

No offense to librarians, but they should not be planning this facility since it needs to be radically different.

Things are changing. Books are going digital. Education is online. How ironic it would if we see a new $50 million community college campus and $30 million library within a block of each other be useless in a few years because they failed to understand how they should change and adapt.

Anonymous said...

Does openline or any of the people commenting here even use the library? Have any of you actually spoken to anyone at the library about how it is used, and what the community has asked them for? As someone said above, you can check out digital books there, thousands of them. Or just do it from home online through the library website. You all keep saying how "different" you want the new library to be, but what exactly do you want that they don't already offer or are planning to offer in the new facility? Do you just want to throw away or hide away the current collection, that is well-used, simply because you personally don't use it? Do you want them to cater to the upper-class Aurora citizens while simply ignoring those who can't afford laptops and kindles?

1:08 said "They offer physical media, not learning and collaboration tools. If they offered digital content as a choice, most people will take that."

Hello! They do so offer both digital content and learning collaboration tools. Lots of them. You obviously don't use the library, so how are you an expert on how they should look to the future?

Anonymous said...

If you had polled people before the iPhone came out, you may not have found many people realizing how much they would rely on a smartphone. Polling current library patrons on how they use a book-centric facility is useless.

Instead, poll technologically-savvy people who understand where the future is headed.

And, if we keep books in the old facility, then people who like to stick with that can still be happy.

Maybe for those people, the library can install and provide payphones and typewriters, too.

Anonymous said...

New libraries are lending people ereaders and making content time-sensitive so you can't keep the material.

So, I gotta agree. Books will be phased out sooner, not later. We should build a knowledge center where people learn and access information. Books should be left at the existing facility.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe if we combined the two, librarians and staff can assist those who now prefer print books to learn how to use new technology, such as senior citizens and those who might not know much about it.

Or we could make them separate so that those of us with class don't have to sully our senses by being around the old and the poor. We could also make them wear special armbands or something so we can recognize them from a distance.

Oh, and there are still people out there without smartphones. I hear they can still live fulfilling lives sometimes.

Anonymous said...

New libraries are lending people ereaders and making content time-sensitive so you can't keep the material.

So what? If you want to own the material forever purchase it yourself. If you want to access the information and read it for free, check it out from the library and return it when you're done. Allowing everyone who wanted to own a book themselves to just take it for free wouldn't be fair to publishers and authors. There have to be limits set.

Maybe openline could hold an old fashioned book-burning!

Anonymous said...

I use the library but I'm no aware they lend out kindles and iPads...do they?

They need to reverse their thinking. The library is touting their plan to have some teen space for digital creation. Yay, but the entire library should be setup for that.

Most people I know don't visit the library because while there are a billion books, there isn't enough area to just sit and quietly work on a laptop.

I would love to see the library change to a tech-dominated plan instead of books and physical media.

Anonymous said...

Go to the library's website. Here, I'll help you:

http://www.aurorapubliclibrary.org/

If you want to download books to your kindle, ipad, etc., click on "DOWNLOAD BOOKS" and go to My Media Mall.

If you want to access magazines, journals, newspapers and other periodicals go to "RESEARCH" to access those databases.

You will be asked for a current Aurora library card number, so make sure you have your card handy. If you have difficulties downloading anything just call the library and they will help you. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

The new library should help people (old, young, rich, poor) make the transition to digital. It's the knowledge and information we all seek, not the paper it's printed on.

Keeping books available at the existing facility for those who must have old media instead of digital would solve the problem of the transition. I see no reason to include books as a major part of the new facility when it's clear that is on the way out.

And, for those who think we should spend millions to put books and physical media in the new facility, why stop there? Why not add rotary dial phones, record players, 8 track players and newspaper collections, too?

At least one positive thing about the awful design for the new facility is they don't have a typewiter lab.

Anonymous said...

And are we prepared to spend our tax money providing the elderly on fixed incomes and the poor transition to digital by providing them with the equipment necessary?

Have you asked to see the library's budget? Have you seen what percentage of their funds is allocated to print v. digital materials? There is a difference between "phasing out" and "eliminating."

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen of the new library plan, it's a terrible plan. It's a complete waste of resources. It is just a bigger version of the existing library.

The problem isn't simply that the old library building is obsolete but it's the purpose itself. This is an opportunity to change the model of what a library does.

Otherwise, they should just keep their current facility, which will gain space regardless as books go digital.

Knowledge is going digital with or without Aurora. The question is will Aurora make a bold change or stick to the past?

Anonymous said...

Bla, bla, bla. You sure typed a lot of words there, 2:27, but I don't see any sort of relevant message there, besides "The new library is terrible and big and has books in it."

What is the "bold change" you are looking for? What exactly do you want to see offered that they aren't planning on offering? Is it just that you don't want to see any books there at all? Or are you looking for something specific that they don't plan on adding?

Anonymous said...

I know MANY senior citizens who don't even have a computer--much less an iPad or smartphone. And whenever I go to the library I see dozens of older people happily browsing the bookshelves and magazine racks. Retired people have plenty of time to use the library, and they appreciate being able to have access to books, music, magazines, etc. on a limited budget. Keeping paper-and-ink books in libraries is the right thing to do, at least for now.

That being said, people do appreciate having options--and one option might be making e-books available for checkout at public libraries. The issue is not "either/or"; it's "both/and".

Anonymous said...

I live in Stonebridge and there is currently no incentive for me to visit the downtown library or this proposed bigger version of the same.

I apologize if I may not be aware of all of the library's offerings but I will urge my alderman to reject any proposal to increase my taxes to keep the past alive.

If there was a technology-dominated facility for knowledge, learning and collaboration...and it had no books or very few, count me in to support it with my visits abd taxdollars.

I see no rational or fiscal reason to incorporate books into the new facility if we can keep them in the existing facility 2 blocks away during the transition of digital and facilities.

School are moving to one-to-one computing. We need to wake up and get with the reality of technology's impact and not waste resources.

Keep books at the old facility, start fresh on new ways of use for the new facility. I don't want to see us moving or buying any new books to that new facility (which is extremely poorly designed and I am saying that as an architect...get visionary designers instead of whatever firm created those designs).

Anonymous said...

As you are an architect who lives in Stonebridge I can see why you would have no need for many of the services the library offers. That's fine. There are many citizens of Aurora who are not as well off as you, and they rely on the library to provide them with information and other services. I realize that many, if not most, of those who comment here would prefer not to acknowledge those people, and would certainly prefer if they did not exist. That is fine, too. They are here whether you like it or not.

But before you place all of your eggs in this "Technology Center" basket, please do a little research and find out for yourself what happened the last time Aurora and its library created a "Community Technology Center." It wasn't all that long ago, and you can still go see it for yourself. It's next to the West Branch of the library at Washington Middle School, and it sits empty. Unless the middle school kids are using it, but the "community" never does.

Anonymous said...

10/12/11 12:04 p.m. said, "Maybe we need tech-savvy people on the board instead of library people."
Here are the board members (please point out which ones are "library people" as none of them is employed by the library):
Jeffry Butler, Jill Wold, Norma Gobert, Richard Hawks, Walter Meinert, Jeffrey Redding, John Savage, Anthony Stanford and Norma Vazquez.

Andrew said...

Those are lame excuses to move books and physical media into the new facility. I have no problem investing into secure kindles, iPads, laptops and making hundreds of large, easy to read computers available to the public. They can be used by young, old, to read, watch, type, whatever.

I do have a problem investing millions into warehousing, distributing and processing old books and physical media at $300 per square foot. That is ridiculous!

For those not ready for the 21st century or prefer to cling to books even if they have a digital option, let's keep the existing library for as long as the building or old books lasts.

The new facility should reflect all taxpayers, not simply the current patrons. Taxpayers are being asked to pay for it. If it's done right instead of this current plan, maybe a lot more people would visit and experience it.

Count me in as totally against the library's current plan ad design. I also want to see them throw those plans out and come up with something that does not revolve around books and the old model.

Anonymous said...

Library taxes should be voluntary. If you want to join pay a fee.

Anonymous said...

Hi people, the assumption that a library should have a tech area itself is flawed.

The ENTIRE library should be a tech center in today's world.

And people who live in Stonebridge do visit libraries. In fact, I'm sure the Eola Branch is considered quite busy.

Even that branch is obsolete though. I hope that if the library board reverse their current wrong direction and instead focuses on technology over books, then we may see some of those technology initiatives at the other branches as well.

I know people at Stonebrdge will take their kids to wherever the best place for knowledge and learning so why not make the new library a place for everyone to experience that? Between the two branches and the old downtown library, we already have plenty of books.

Let's think much different. I love books but I agree it would be a big mistake to build a new facility around them given today's technology.

Anonymous said...

So it seems that those commenting here don't have a problem with the technology and upgrades that are going to be offered at the new building (four times as many computers will be available to the public as there are now. There will be twice as much seating for those with laptops. There will be a media area and an area video conferencing technology, as well as other upgrades). T

he problem that openline readers have is that they just don't want books in the library at all? Books that are used and the library already owns? Okay. So you either have a problem with the books themselves (old ones do get moldy) or you just don't like the people who read them rather than getting all their information electronically. Sounds like a bit of elitism to me. Rather than sounding off here, why not run for library board yourself? That's the way to make the changes you want, not whining about it here.

Anonymous said...

Just as a matter of fact, you cannot run for the library board. Board members are appointed by the mayor.

Anonymous said...

I find it somewhat disturbing that anyone who supports the old library model thinks that by pursuing technology and knowledge, everyone else is somehow disregarding the poor or old.

Why wouldn't the poor and old benefit from a smart center of knowledge???

But, maybe this speaks a larger issue of how Aurora keeps running into these choices of sticking with the old vs. new, what our priorities are and who pays for it all.

Aurora Housing Authority is trying to rebuild the Jericho Circle slum. The library board wants to rebuild the same library model. I'm not saying they are the same situation, but at some point, this community needs to stop making mistakes.

The library is for taxpayers that pay for it. I don't see the library planning to charge fees for visitors, so then this facility should be beneficial to the people who live in Stonebridge, White Eagle or anywhere else some people may think don't "need" it. They PAY for it.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that books be 100% absent from the new facility, but I totally agree with the idea that books not be the focus and if we can keep the existing facility intact during the transition, that would be a great solution and I applaud OLB for sharing that, since I hadn't even considered it.

I'm a taxpayer, I want to see a great new library, but I don't want to see it based upon the past model, no matter how much I love books.

Plus, if we push the transition from paper to digital, that's "green" and supposedly, that's the craze these days.

Anonymous said...

My 10 cents on this...don't spend my 10 cents, 2 cents or any cents on incorporating books and physical media as the primary purpose of the new library. I'm willing to spend extra to build a flexible facility that will be technologically-dominant. Other than having the ability to reserve some books to be brought over from the old facility, I don't want to waste my money on replicating what we ALREADY have at the old facility. Instead, put the money into what can be used by everyone for many purposes.

I am definitely opposing the current library plan and hope that if any of the library board reads these comments, they will toss those plan into a shredder, never use those architects again and take the time necessary to think about a technological-based facility that gives our community the tools and information to access the world, not just this or that book.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the people commenting so negatively on the new Main Library have not reviewed the information available or spoken to the Library Board or the Director regarding the plans for the new Library.

In presentations by Director Luckinbill,which I have heard, she has stressed several important points including the following. 1. the drawings, both interior and exterior, are concepts and once public comment has been heard and costs attached the building may look nothing like the concepts. 2. Any shelves or furniture shown are on the drawings only as space markers to indicate rooms and spaces within, for example, the Children's area for whatever is current technology or library materials when the building opens. Just because it looks like book shelves doesn't mean that is what will be there when the Library opens. 3. The Library Board, Director and staff want the MOST technologically advanced library possible, with the flexibility necessary to change as technology, the people and the city of Aurora change. 4. The Library already has or does a majority of the things people are suggesting. It already has down loadable books for Kindles and Nooks and E-readers of all kinds. The current library has WI-FI and only due to its size is it limited in meeting the needs of all those who are on the wrong side of the digital divide. Within the new Library there will be many more computers and stations for those with or without their own computers or whatever the newest device is to log on and search the Internet or databases to which the library provides access even now. 5. The new Library will have meeting rooms, study rooms, comfortable seating and work areas for individuals, group collaboration, business meetings and training, and community groups who just need a place to chat. They also want to have an advanced technology room with video conferencing, and other equipment for the public to use to create Facebook and U-tube ads for their sites and businesses and other advanced materials as they are developed. Besides these rooms Director Luckinbill has stated there will be quiet areas for reading and areas for people to meet and talk without disturbing others.

This Library Board, Director and staff know what is happening in the world and in the library world and it seems to me that people should listen to them. Every time I hear them talk about the new Library it is clear that they have thought about this for a very long time and very, very carefully. They seem to know and understand the needs of the people who use the Library everyday because they don't have technological devices at home, they also know that technology is changing rapidly and that the library needs to provide for changes no one can even imagine today.They want to build the Library of the future, of the 21st and 22nd century, where every one will come to seek out the information they need, whether in books, on e-readers, or by plugging a mini drive of some kind into a terrabyte drive and taking home the entire encyclopedia.

For those who don't yet see this vision go talk to a Board Member or to Mrs. Luckinbill. If you see the vision then talk to your Alderman and the Mayor and tell them to support the new Main Library. Tell them now is the time to build. As two friends of mine, a banker and a contractor, tell me bonds will never be less expensive and construction costs will never be cheaper, and Aurora needs jobs.

So support the one institution that brings educational access to everyone no matter what their age, or learning level.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that those commenting here think that this is an issue of old vs. new, when it really is an issue of new vs. new. The new library will be different from the current one, with a much larger focus on technology. It seems the new model isn't exactly what those here want. And that's great. New ideas are what move us forward.

However, the only argument I see here is people shouting "No more books!" over and over again. No one is offering any new ideas, or putting anything new on the table. Some people mentioned ebooks and readers. The library already offers those. You wanted places to sit and use a laptop. That's in the new plan. More media will be available. More software and technology for patrons to use. It's in the new plan.

Judging by writing style, it looks as though there is only one, maybe two people in the anti-book brigade here. Have a great time at the Openline Book Burning: Party of One. Now I'm off to read a book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks OLB for bringing this discussion into the community.

The current plan for the "new" library is to be a $300 per square foot warehouse and distribution center for books. That is a nonstarter.

The reason it's so important to remove the books from any focus, large or small, is because the bulk of the facility and expense revolve around it.

Once you take books and other physical stuff out of the equation, NOW you can think creatively.

Much of the space necessary for a technology-driven facility is, in fact, SPACE. Places to plug in, sit, read, watch, whatever. Rooms for students, research, business people. yeah business people.

I hope the educators of community are paying close attention. They should demand the library board to realize students of today need to learn outside the classroom and the library is a place not only where they can happen, but it can happen with students from elsewhere.

I'm afraid getting the library to change from their incorrect path is like getting the AHA to realize that public housing is flawed. I hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely great post!

I love books and was sad at the close of Borders, but the loss of Borders wasn't so much the books, but the social aspect, the ability to sit with your laptop, have events, authors. There's no reason those things can't be done at the library.

As much as I love books, I realize it's a matter of time before kids are going to have electronic textbooks and learning exclusively on digital content, so why would we waste money on a new book processing system in a new facility when we have three (including the other branches)?

Build the library as a technology center for knowledge or however you called it. I'm even tempted to say don't use the word library so it forces people to adapt to the change.

for those that need books, make it simple to go over to the old facility, drive up and pick it up and go inside. If people reserve in advance, let them pick it up from the new facility as well, but that shouldn't be complicated or expensive.

I visited a library recently in New York that was completely packed, not a single seat available to sit. 95% of it was due to people on digital devices.

I don't own an iPad or Kindle yet, but I will sooner or later.

This library must be built with us thinking about generations ahead, NOT the habits of the past.

Jillian's Random Ruminations said...

Just my two cents....I'm very tactile....I love to kick back, feet up...and delve into a great book. No way will I ever achieve that feeling by sitting at my 'puter.
That being said...I like your ideas and think they should be integrated into the bricks and mortar building, but I would never abandon physical books...they're timeless....I don't care what anyone says, and to discard them as invaluable is reckless....

Anonymous said...

You can sit back and read a book on an iPad or Kindle, but unlike the paper version, it can link to more depth if info, videos and much easier to provid to the public. Think about it, by going digital, you are no longer confined to your inventory of books. It opens doors of knowledge. For those who ONLY want to have a paper version, those books can remain at the old facility to pickup or reserve. Why spend millions on creating a new system to store books when we already have it?

My view is that even before any new library is built, this transition to digital should be pushed now at the current facilities.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me the architects who came up with this lousy design are not the same ones who did the overpriced police palace.

Funny if this city's police station is bigger than the library.

Anonymous said...

The architects (Cordogan), interior design (morcos), and contractor (Wegman), all buddies of the mayor, are the same usual suspects when it comes to overpriced taxpayer-funded projects.

That's embarassing if a community's police station has more space than the central library. Then again, with all the wasted space at the police station, maybe they could be the book warehouse.

Anonymous said...

Apparently this blog is only for nasayers. Somehow in the last three hours my positive,Library supportive e-mail which appeared in the column to the left has mysteriously disappeared.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does every comment in favor of a technology-driven library sound like it was written by the same person? Maybe the same person who wrote the original blog post? Openline, is that you?

Anonymous said...

library board should reject the current design plans and rethink how they approach the library.

it's clear the community is saying they want a very different, advanced facility and while that may include some books, they don't want to see it revolve around them.

I agree with the boldly think different approach and not the model of the past.

Anonymous said...

I believe we have a responsibility to do what's right for the future generation and make sure taxdollars are used wisely.

So, I agree completely with the idea of focusing on technology for the new facility, leaving the bulk of books in the existing three branches. Over time, books will be replaced by digital formats and the two branches will benefit from the new technology focus.

I urge the library board to restart their planning process. Before they come up with a new design, cost or pick colors, they should determine a different approach toward the new facility. Take the time necessary to come up with the most innovative ideas and solutions.

Maybe if the library board takes that approach, they will not only get support from the community but also lots of funds from people and entities who support technology projects.

The first option should not be a tax increase. With this current plan, I cannot support an extra penny for it. Fix the vision and then I am happy to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

All of you are missing the point completely. As with any government or quasi government entity it is all about ever expanding beaureaucracy. ie: more floor space, more labor, more maintenance, more staff, more retirement, more healthcare,and more TAXES to support it. Also more money for Cordogan, Wegman and other friends of the conected in Aurora.Isuppose it will also have a nice area for the creep who it will be named after as everything public now has to be a memorial to some public hack, like bridges, roads, and public buildings. Im sure there will be a big brass plaque telling us how the board worked so diligently to separate the taxpayer from his money. It is obvious by the posts that the "feel gooders" want to spend your money so they can curl up with the physical book along with a cup of coffee. To which I say nuts. This whole thing can probably be handled with very little expense by utilizing the "CLOUD LIBRARY" now available to anyone with a computer.

Anonymous said...

This taxpayer wants to see the library operate on a pay for service basis, and charge like they do people from outside the community. If you want the service you shoudl pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Libraries are not businesses. They should not charge for their services.

Should we charge children for kindergarden thru high school?

I am unhappy with museums that charge the public to use the facilities that they paid for to start with. Lets not talk about charging to read books.

Anonymous said...

Even if this new facility has some books, their design is awful.

I also like the idea of keeping books at the existing branches. They can add the drive up at the old downtown branch.

For the new facility, limit the books to only what are reserved and force people to adapt to digital and the cloud.

There is no reason to invest money into books when we know it's moving to digital. Create learning spaces and provide tech tools everywhere in the new facility. Give it an auditorium. Think creatively but please do not make it like your usual library.

For those that don't want to give up on books and old media things like newspapers, you can continue to access those at the existing branches. But, let me be clear. As time goes on, you will either have to adapt or pay extra to hold a paper version of a book.

The library board needs to kill their current plans and start again. There is no way this current plan should proceed and it definitely is not worth a tax increase.

Anonymous said...

Should we charge children for kindergarden thru high school?

Of course we should.

Anonymous said...

There is no way this current plan should proceed and it definitely is not worth a tax increase.
=================================

They are asking for a tax increase? Why don;t they stop the asinine fodo for fines then and collect the actual money rather than supporting riff-raff?

Anonymous said...

Oh, the joy of the digital prognosticators.
Would one of you be willing to explain to us which closed digital ecosystem the library should buy into, so that we don't get locked out as time goes by?
Of course, all of you are also aware that only a very, very small percentage of print books that can be bought right now are even available in electronic format. Or that the publishers are very unlikely indeed to go back and release decades worth of important works in electronic formats since the publishers never contracted for the rights?
The notion that paper will go away is dangerously short sighted at the very best, and potentially ridiculous.
The important point would seem to be that the interior of any new building be adaptable and flexible. If we ever get to the digital frontier and it's as well received and pervasive as some of you seem to think, THEN it's time to get rid of the print books and reuse the space.
Is it designed for that? Who knows?
Should it be? Of course.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is saying get rid of print books completely at this time.

We have not one, but THREE branches full of books and a separate storage facility on Church road, full of books.

If you make the new facility focused on technology, you can STILL access books from the other locations.

I'm in favor of the idea of keeping the old library for books, including all it's existing systems to process, store and distribute them. There's no reason to duplicate that in the new facility.

It's true not ALL books are in digital format yet. Many older books are still being digitized. But, that will change. And, all NEW books are in digital format.

Since we have plenty of the OLD books, I don't see the problem.

I do see a big problem and expense with trying to mix the old book system with a new library that's purpose changes from a check-out system to a check-in where you come to the library to access info and learn.

Anonymous said...

To the person who talked about design and construction costs, I'm a little confused. How is it possible this library then costs $300 per square foot?

$30 million
divided by 100,000 sq ft
= $300 per square foot

For $30 million, we should be getting a 200,000 square feet library with not one, but multiple auditoriums.

Is this because they are using the mayor's campaign contributors, Cordogan (design) and Wegman (contractor), who have magically been associated with all taxpayer-funded projects in this city during the last few years?

The fact they have Cordogan and Wegman (and Vicki Morcos doing interior design), tells me this project is going to be your standard crap at very high expense to taxpayers.

I want the library to PULL these current plans, take time to think about how to do a library much different. Once there's a vision that removes the focus of books and puts it on technology, then they should have architects from across the country to battle for the design to build a library of the future and get a top-tier contractor who will discount the construction costs even more because they want to be associated with the nation's most advanced library. Let Cordogan compete, too. I seriously doubt they have the talent and ideas to do so, but let them try if they can compete on a stage that isn't rigged to help them.

Anonymous said...

Eva (library director) is a nice lady. I personally like her, but I think she's in a tough position.

I haven't spoken to her about any of this, but my guess is she knows there is a fast-changing world of technology that should be the full focus of the library, but her board is full of people who think of libraries as the old library model. You go in, look around, check out a book, leave.

The new model is focused on people going in, sitting around, learning, collaborating and leaving without checking out much of anything. It's a very different focus.

I doubt Eva wanted Cordogan or Wegman either, but we all know how this city works.

My hope is that all this feedback is enough for Eva to go to the board and say they need to take some time to think about how the library can be a true library of the future, not just the future next library for Aurora. If that takes 6 months or a year, so be it.

Just get it right. Otherwise, it's going to get defeated in a vote and then it will be harder to convince people later that it's now on the right track.

Anonymous said...


The new model is focused on people going in, sitting around, learning, collaborating and leaving without checking out much of anything. It's a very different focus.


Sounds kind of faggoty to me. Collaborating - good gosh. How about a coffee and juice bar too and maybe some soft music...it sounds like you want to compete with Starbucks and what Borders was...

Not everyone wants to collaborate or even talk to people or even see them. Some people are drawn to books because they despise people and like to control their inputs.

This whole thread sounds to me like a bunch of techno-freaks who can't get their wicks wet on a regular basis and get their asses kicked in bars want a place to hand out with a bunch of metro males so they don't feel like the loser dweebs they are.

Anonymous said...

The comment above is quite weird, but let me hit it head-on. If a futuristic library means the typical crowd in Aurora becomes a bunch of techno-geeks, people who like hanging out at Starbucks instead of bars, likes soft music, has class and enjoys discussions on big ideas and smart ideas, I'm all for it. Unless, of course you prefer people get high on moldy paper books with the homeless people and other social service agencies throw out during the day and need somewhere to hang out.

Damn, I wasn't so keen on a new library, but now that you have pointed out the potential of CHANGING Aurora's image and the type of people, I'm absolutely for it if we can do right!

By the way, is that what some of the old guard is worried about? If you build a place for knowledge instead of books, you might get a bunch of smart people showing up and it will expose just how many dumb people we have in leadership positions in this city?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the library have a member of each school district on its board? Don't they serve the same user?

Anonymous said...

Damn, I wasn't so keen on a new library, but now that you have pointed out the potential of CHANGING Aurora's image and the type of people, I'm absolutely for it if we can do right!

It won't change Aurora's image it will just give a bunch of queers a place to hang out.

Anonymous said...

This whole thread is hilarious. Anyone who is wired in who is not a total loser does not live in Aurora. Go to Naperville and you will see what I mean.

It sounds to me like some tech savvy loser types can't afford to live in a decent community so they are trying to build their little loser geek squad utopia in Aurora. Good luck with that, becasue every time one of your geek squad inherits from their momma will they will not only move out of momma's basement but out of Aurora as well.

Anonymous said...

What happened to our free WiFi?

Anonymous said...

Remember the buggy whip!

Anonymous said...

It's funny you mention Naperville. Their public library has been chosen as "best in the nations" for several years in a row. I addition to technology and media they have a collection of actual books that dwarfs Aurora's.

Anonymous said...

Years ago Aurora library started purging books, even classics that had not been checked out for 4 years. Which does not assume anyone ever does actual research in the library. A number of classics where discarded as well as unique works (i.e. "The Roosevelt I knew"). Often then the purchased the same book with simply a newer cover and binding.

And if they want a tax increase why are they doing food for fines? Why is the library in the wealth transfer business?

Anonymous said...

I've been LMAO over all the fiscally conservative people upset over how much is going to be spent on this new library because it's going to be a mix of new technology and the old books, but then they want the library to keep laying out all that money to maintain the old building to keep the books in it. Hellooooo, the idea was to move to a new facility so the library could dump the old building on the city!

Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of keeping the books in the old building and NOT putting any additional money into the building.

Let the building die and let the books get replaced by digital copies.

Whatever we do, I just don't want to see old books in a new facility devoted to technology. Old books there is like an oxymoron. Let's not be morons!

Anonymous said...

Learn a lesson from Naperville!

Anonymous said...

Right, 8:46. Naperville has excellent technology resources -- and also lots of books. We need a mix of both in the new library building, like what's actually in the plan, NOT refusing to put any books in the new building and keeping any books in the old building (or holding a bonfire). While digital is here, and may be growing, it will not totally replace printed books in the forseeable future. While I like my Kindle, I'm not going totally over to it. When the screen breaks (and it's happened twice) I lose access to ALL the books on my Kindle. If I lose one printed book, I've still got all the others available.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain to me why we need a new library at all? Do you go to them, the only one with heavy traffic is downtown. And what does those who use it actually contribute overall?

Why are we wasting more money on libraries when they are for the most part obsolete. Just keep what you already ave, free wifi and get less expensive employees, cut the pensions. My gosh, the librarians are pretty much obsolete these days. Ever use one? You end up figuring it out for yourself anyways. They can e replaced by kiosks. All yo need are people to shelve books. You could self scan for check out and a few security guards.

You would be much better off spending the money on digitally archiving books and having one gigantic electronic copy that can be downstreamed anywhere - even in the world. Making English the defacto language world wide and wiping out Spanish as an alternative.

These building are just wasteful. All you need a warehouses and some robotics to automated the hard print books. Place your order, the robots pick the books the rest are electronic and be done with it. this brick and mortar, cafe crap need to die. It is a waste.

The real modern vision is a virtual library, located in cyberspace not a physical place.

My company has a neat perk for employees, an electronic library where we can read pretty much any modern book for free (to us) free of charge in electronic format.

I am on line all the time reading at night. Best sellers etc, all electronic. And you people want a brick and mortar building -- why. It is asinine to build anything.

Keep what you have and in another 10-15 years physical libraries will be extinct as they should be.

Anonymous said...

Then buy another Kindle as a backup. duh!

Anonymous said...

I want my Wi-Fi dammit!!!

Anonymous said...

Great reasoning, 12:42. Let's see, buy another Kindle to just sit in a drawer in case the main one breaks. Buy another car to sit in the garage, just in case the primary one breaks down. Of course, then I should build a second garage to sit empty, in case the first one catches fire. Oh, what about my house? It might get termite damage and collapse. I better buy another to sit vacant just in case! Hmmm, my wife might want to divorce me, so I'll go marry another one now, just in case. A rocket scientist you ain't.

Anonymous said...

Interesting this came up in another forum:

http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2011/10/are-libraries-still-relevant.html#comments

Anonymous said...

That old library shore would make a fine New city hall wouldn't it Tom?

Anonymous said...

Actually, the old library wouldn't be the new city hall. Only the mayor's office would move there. He needs that much room for all his assistant chiefs of staff, spokespersons, director ofs, etc.

Anonymous said...

I live in Naperville and although our library may be be considered good, if we were building a new facility, I'm pretty sure it would not be based upon the model of the past, but a high-tech library. Would it have books? Maybe a few, but those are all going digital sooner or later.

I'm not familiar with Aurora's downtown facility. I've been to the branch on Eola Road. But, no matter how much people try to justify putting books in a new library, the truth is that digital and ebooks are going to wipe out most books. Libraries will have to change. If I'm building a library today, I would change now.

Anonymous said...

The new library should not be built - period. All money should be dedicated to providing remote and on-site access to excellent research databases and put into maintaining the current buildings. there is nto need to purchase new books, they should go electronic.

In 15 years there will be no use for brick and mortar, they shoudl just run out the clock on what they have already.

Anonymous said...

You don't need another Public Library in Aurora. Especially Downtown, there's not much down there expect homeless people who haven't showered in a long time, and gang members who like to hang out at a certain restaurant. But that's okay the City of Aurora likes to spend money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. 2 million for this bar,1 million for that bar, 100 million for an over-the-top Police Station, unbelievable high wages for Police and Fireman. When the City files for bankruptcy the leaders will be safely hidden in Florida. It's called the old "Dump and Run"

Anonymous said...

As much as this pains me to admit this since I've loved books all my life, we must build for the future and that does not include books.

This current plan is very much a traditional library. They should either make a clear committment to a technology-based vision or go back to the drawing board before asking taxpayers to pay.