Monday, February 21, 2005

Annapolis Library on Parole?

It was only relatively recently that I re-discovered the County's public library system. Sure, I knew it existed, and that it was likely doing someone else a lot of good, but I didn't seem to have the time or inclination to avail myself of its resources. Gradually, though, during a particularly slow period, I spent a fair amount of time visiting several local branches, most notably, the main Annapolis branch. I found that, in addition to 27 computers for public use (the new Odenton Branch now has 65), the library's holdings, which include books from all 15 branches, are fairly extensive, and that the wait for inter-library loans is often only 2 or 3 days.

Now, there's talk that the Annapolis Branch could possibly be closed and replaced by a Branch at the re-developed Parole site. Happily, the people of Annapolis are pissed, and even better, they're organized. The president of the Germantown-Homewood civic association, which surrounds the Annapolis Branch location, said in the Baltimore Sun that, "almost all respondents [to a community survey] supported keeping the library on the current site and that 75 percent supported enlarging the current building if it needed upgrading."

I can't envision a day that I would oppose the construction of a new library, and I certainly wouldn't oppose the construction of one at Parole. In fact, I think it would be a great addition to what I hope will be a true mixed-use re-development. A community where work options, public services, and shopping are all a short walk away from one's home. A library and a post office would undoubtedly be well-used. However, a new library in Parole should not come at the expense of the Annapolis Branch library, which is an anchor for that West Street community, and has been for 40 years.



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