That's right, this reader seems to be saying--or is poking fun as those who do adhere to this view--that if something is messed up in town, it just has to be the fault of the "damn library." That "damn library" is sucking away money, time, energy from other, perhaps more worthy causes.
The Contra Costa Times's Elisabeth Nardi reports today that the 42,000-square-foot library, long a source of controversy, will open in late spring or early summer. Some good news? The library, and its 123-space underground parking garage, appear to be coming in under the $41.5 million budget, but just how much no one is saying. Not yet.
The bad news? Well, just as the library opens, Measure Q, a $22-per parcel tax passed in 2002, will run out. Measure Q helped Walnut Creek libraries beef up the number of hours that their staff, employees with the Contra Costa County Library system, worked. Instead of the county only being able to staff the library 35 hours a week, Measure Q helped the county to pay workers to keep the Walnut Creek libraries to be open 56 hours.
The city, right now, seems reluctant to go back to Walnut Creek voters and ask them to extend the parcel tax. "It's not the time right now to ask the taxpayers and residents for more funding," Lorie Tinfow, assistant city manager told the Times.
I know that the library has long been a red-hot issue, long before the Neiman Marcus bomb dropped into town. I have friends who emphatically support the new library. I have friends who believe construction of the library has been a huge waste of resources.
I confess I was not paying much mind to the proposed new library when the idea first hit the fan: working, raising a small child.
I always had a sentimental attachment to the old library, because, as a teen-ager, I worked there after school and in the summers. What a great job. I helped check out books and would push those carts around into the stacks to shelve books. I confess I tended to disappear in those stacks if a book on the cart happened to catch my fancy.
Best part-time job for a teen-ager and college student ever!
I do believe civic ego drove some Walnut Creek city and community leaders to believe that they needed a grand new monument in town. Hey, Danville got it's swanky new library. So did other towns up and down the I-680 corridor, from Livermore to Dublin to San Ramon. I like Orinda's library plaza and fountain and the little cafe below.
Lafayette got its new, somewhat pretentiously titled, "Lafayette Library and Learning Center." Well, I can imagine some Walnut Creek city and community leaders could not abide being shown up by, hmph, Lafayette!
So, a series of political battles and elections later, we are going to soon have a new downtown library. I suppose some of us could continue to grumble about the waste, the folly, the ego.
Or, we could just accept that it's going to open soon, and maybe it will be kind of cool and worth all the fuss in the long term. Hey, it's going to have a cafe!
Maybe, just maybe, it will exceed any of our low expections. How about that? I know when I pass along North Broadway and see that street-facing facade take shape, I think, hey, the library might turn out looking pretty good! Design-wise, it might just turn out to be a credit to our--uh--notable Walnut Creek skyline.