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May 30, 2014


One minor correction to your story- our city library has *no* director. The director was fired several years ago. I don't recall B.J.'s title, but it is not director. She basically performs the same job but missing the top decision making capability which now resides in city hall and with a smaller salary than the fired director.

There are good reasons to build a new library. The current building is ugly, unsafe and was never well designed. Library services are currently undergoing great evolution. But *I do not trust our city government to improve library services in a new building rather than eviscerate them further*.

5 day bus service, 5 or 6 day library service (or part of a day in West Salem), is it any wonder our part-time city isn't thriving?

Mary Ann, thanks for the correction. A Statesman Journal story calls Towe the "library administrator." I'll change her title to that.

Regarding a new library, I also worry about whether this would be better than the old one.

City officials are under a lot of pressure to reduce the cost of the $85 million (or higher) current cost for a new police facility and Civic Center renovations -- including seismic retrofitting of City Hall and the Library.

"Back of the envelope" calculations seem to show that building a new library and converting the current library to a police facility would save little, if any, money. Again, this is just a rough guesstimate.

But it makes sense. After all, currently we have a functional library and a poor police facility crammed into the bottom floor of the Civic Center. Doesn't seem real smart or cost-effective to convert the functional library into a police facility and then look for a new library location.

I knew a while back that if the City manager, the mayor and the police chief doesn't want to relocate the police station to another location that they would move the library and make it the new police station. That was pretty obvious. It is sad to see our city government not being upfront about it to the people. This was one of the reasons why I ran for the city council position. The public need to be informed. Xue Lor

That is a nice little rant but it leaves a lot of questions. My 3 y/o and I go at least once a week and the only place that IS crowded is the kids area. We DO NOT use the story time area because it is HOT and packed and stinks in there. BUT.....
If you walk through the main areas there may be one or two students studying but I mostly see homeless looking men just killing time.
Every school in the area already has a library that their kids can check out stuff so unless its summer time they are not going to the library. The "Heritage Room" is always empty when I walk by....If they replace that ONE glass wall with sound proofing then they could used that area for kids story. the teen room has only ever been open once when I walked through... they could use that for story area? Half the time the conference rooms appear empty...There is no need to use $250K to renovate when they don't even have enough volunteers to keep the playroom open when its supposed to be open.... there that's my rant.

Like an episode of Portlandia. The cops will start hanging out at the Library and like two weeks in they have checked out all the books. people get skuffled by in hand cuffs towards the childrens story time room. Nothing to see here! Move along! Librarians on paid leave.....

Ms. Ernst must frequent the off-hours. The library's children's area is routinely busy, story-time is packed and the programs are often full to capacity. And have you actually checked out your kids' school library? You won't find a bona fide librarian, and the book selection (if there is one) probably resembles a garage sale assortment of dated books.

I'd suggest moving the police facility to a new location. Few people actually go there, and all the police use cars. Leave the downtown location for culture!

I will say that there are alot more people outraged about the possible move than there are volunteers willing to make the library more functional.However,I would tend to agree that the downtown location should remain the location for library. For low income families or single vehicle families, sometimes the bus is the only way that they can get to the library. If we move the library it would make it harder for these families to provide some sort of enrichment for their children besides sitting in the house watching tv. I would also argue that if the library budget has been being raided for other projects already then my faith that they would put enough money into a new facility to make it functional, is pretty low. As for the 250,000 in renovations for the children's room, you will note that the article states that they were privately raised funds. Its not costing the tax payers anything to renovate this room, so why shouldn't they be able to spend the money to make it a more workable space. In a world where kids get stuck in front of the tv or video games, shouldn't this kind of project be where we invest? Our kids are growing up far to fast now days, maybe we should place some importance on preserving their childhoods and imagination and fostering a love of learning. Sad to see salem putting so little stake in that.

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