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Sept 11, 1997 Letter to Editor


Dear Editor:

At our September 9 meeting, the Library 21 Committee completed the Program Development phase of its work and has moved to the siting issue. This major step is possible because we've completed fifteen months of work and held twenty public meetings -- and that's not counting the many information-gathering meetings with organizations, agencies and neighborhood groups. We now have an exciting program that spells out the kinds of services that we need in a main library that will serve us and our children into the twenty-first century.

This program is the result of input from many, many people, including the staff of the Cambridge Public Library; visits to similar libraries here and across the country and conversations with directors of a myriad of others; a well-attended Symposium held last Fall and lots of basic research. We also carefully reviewed the needs assessment produced several years ago for the library. We will make this program widely available for review.

The issue at this point is finding a the best site. There has been considerable concern about the impacts of expanding the main library on the current Broadway site, including the traffic flow, parking, the adjacent open space, the size limits of the site, accessibility from public transportation.

Therefore, after a great deal of discussion and deliberation over the last few months while we were completing the program, we will recommend to the City Manager that the best approach is for the City to conduct an objective site search and analysis. We believe that this process should be carried out by a team of professionals that has experience in siting similar public facilities. We need to find the site that will be optimal for serving residents and for accommodating our proposed program. The Broadway site should be included in the process.

In order to maintain the independence of the process, the Library 21 Committee will not be directly involved. We will serve as advisors to the City Manager and will provide input at key points. Just as we have tried to do all along in our process, this site analysis process should be a model for openness and integrity with one goal in mind: to find the best possible site for the library that will become a civic heart for the city and will educate ourselves, our children and their children in the twenty-first century.


Nancy B. Woods Richard Rossi Co-Chairs