---- New library? Try the Amazon approach
Razing the Lucy-Faris building would be an egregious waste. That it was proposed by politicians supposedly sensitive to environmental protection is inconsistent at best. Whatever happened to re-purposing, a basic weapon in the war against pollution? I don't recall a huge public outcry for a new library, let alone a new building. I do recall, however, that our local city councillors thought it might be a nifty idea to improve our outlet of the public library. Good on them, but it need not entail the destruction of a building that is but thirty-some years old, even if it does require some work.
What we do need are more books and improved library services. That means a cheaper place to store books and the means to make them readily available where and when they're required .... the Amazon approach. To have our local library outlets store all our books is silly. We need a huge storage facility, where real-estate is cheaper, and a computerized system to retrieve the books required and deliver them to the outlet closest to the citizens who requested them.
The Library already does this. People consult the catalog and order books on-line. So, does that mean we only need local outlets as drop-off stations? Not at all. Libraries are great places to rummage through reference books, find light-reading materials, novels, magazines, etc. It's just not the place to have large parts of the principal collection. There should also be designated areas for children and their books (that they can read there, borrow, or be read to by staff or volunteers) and games designed to teach, improve skills and develop vocabulary. There should also be areas for older offsring and/or adults to work together, in small groups, on “projects”. And there should be areas of peace and quiet, some equipped with tables and communications hardware, others with large easychairs for reading and thinking.
Surely all that can be done within the confines of the existing building. Why not go out to tender for this kind of interesting new concept to be applied in the Faris building, using as much of the building as required, and then really putting our minds to work on what to do with the space that's left. A fancy new building is not what's going to make Main Street more vibrant and appealing. Coming up with new ideas, like the open market, is what will. Scrapping buildings to solve a problem is mindless and defeatist.