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September 07, 2006


Terrence Berres

Whitney Gould http://www.jsonline.com/story/?id=122518 described the Franklin Public Library as a "columned, red-brick behemoth set off by a vast parking lot, looks more like a big-box retail store than a library." Interesting that it could become an "enormous community asset that is fast becoming a popular civic gathering space."

John Michlig

I can assure you, the building's physical structure (not to mention its useless expanse of lawn at streetside, band of asphalt on two sides, and numerous "false fronts") has little to do with its emerging role as a civic gathering place. Rather, the fact that it's a place with meeting rooms and browsable bookshelves makes it a psuedo-public space that could have been much, much more.

Terrence Berres

Okay, what you criticise does not hinder its operation as a library and, in your words, "has little to do with its emerging role as a civic gathering place." That's not very compelling criticism if one could go back to re-argue the project.

John Michlig

I guess I don't understand what you're asking.

That's probably my fault, as my point may have been less than clear. The library's emergence as a civic gathering space is happening IN SPITE of its location and design; it actually could and should be a much more vibrant public space.

The Franklin Library is a wonderful facility on the inside (I still remember the old "library"), but its a victim of typical suburban "pod" development in that it's isolated, has given over a substantial chunk of its corner lot to nothing more than "lawn" (though a veteran's memorial is being installed), has zero walkable proximity to other useful public/commercial spaces (other than the park and PERHAPS city hall, if you brave the expanse of parking lot on foot), has numerous "entry facades" that cannot be used for entry or exit, has small patios that have become de facto "smoke break" areas, and now faces the possibility of further isolation due to the commercial center being shifted to the Carstensen development at Hwy. 100 and Drexel.

I believe its operation as the Franklin PUBLIC Library would have been much enhanced by more forward-looking site design. An expanse of lawn is NOT green space.

I'll throw out a real wild card: There should be a commercial business on the corner of Drexel and Loomis, across a courtyard from the library. A coffee shop, or even a Kinko's. Perhaps that business could work out a revenue-sharing plan with the library as well. What a boon to the nearby neighborhoods, and what a nice place to spend an afternoon without having to drive from place to place.

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