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June 29, 1997 Letter to Editor


Dear Editor:

The Library 21 Committee is drafting the final version of the program for the new main library -- this is the description of what goes into the library and the benefits to all of us. This program will be an important influence on the the size and design. We are taking great pains to make sure the program contains the best from the many sources which we've consulted and that, as a group, we agree on all the pieces. All of us are in agreement that the City of Cambridge deserves a wonderful library that will take us well into the 21st century.

In developing this program, we want to remind everyone that the Main Library will serve the entire city -- it belongs to everyone. We especially want to assure all thirteen neighborhoods that the Main Library program will 1) be able to support the branches more effectively (just ask your branch librarian!) and 2) provide excellent services that are unique to a main library.
Once the program phase is complete, the Committee will begin to develop a process for Phase IV, siting the library.

Our program includes a much larger children's sections with areas for storytelling, creative activities, quiet areas; the periodical section will be much more robust; the stacks themselves will have much more capacity and will be accessible for the disabled; there will be public bathrooms; young adults will have services that are tailored to meet their needs; reference services will be expanded and enhanced with technology; there will be a much improved area devoted to Cambridge history collections; there will be a combination of large and small meeting rooms for small groups and larger events; and there will be most likely be a modest snack area -- we have found that most new libraries acknowledge that people eat there anyway, so why not provide a place to do it away from the books.

When we get all the program elements agreed upon, we will make every effort to communicate them and make sure there is ample opportunity to comment. After all, we will all benefit from a new library, why shouldn't we all have a chance to participate in its development?On July 16, 6:30 p.m. in the Main Library, we invite the public to join us in a "librarians' review" session. We've invited several local library directors who have recently built new facilities to take a look at our program elements and advise us as to what we may be overlooking. We'll also ask them to tell us what, in hindsight, they would do differently. We'll ask questions and we invite the public to do so as well.


Co-Chairs: Nancy Woods & Richard Rossi