I disagreed with a lot of what was said in a Salem Breakfast on Bikes post, "How much worse would a Marion Parkade Library actually be?"
The post refers to a proposal by City officials to seriously consider making the current library into a police facility, and moving the library to some other location.
What rubbed me the most the wrong was a repeated Breakfast on Bikes mention of the library being a "charmless concrete bunker."
Well, for comparision here's a genuine charmless concrete bunker -- the Marion Parkade parking structure that City officials have said could be the new library location. Not the whole Parkade, just the ground floor.
I admit to being a library romantic.
My bookaholic mother instilled me in a love for all things bookish. I grew up in a small town, Three Rivers, California, which for a while didn't have an actual library. However, two women made their homes into community libraries.
I remember my mother driving up to their houses. We'd get out of the car, knock on the door, and be admitted into a wonderfully quaint collection of books scattered through rooms in the house. Eventually Three Rivers did have an actual library, but it wasn't as charming as the home-based versions.
This evening I stopped by the Salem Public Library to take some photos. The library is closed on Monday, so I couldn't go inside. This wasn't necessary, though, to dispel the "charmless concrete bunker" appellation.
I like the look and feel of the current library.
My wife and I moved here in 1977 when our daughter was five. The library was a big part of her childhood, as well as our lives as parents.
Yes, architectural sensibilities have changed since then. I realize that now the Salem Public Library is cited as an example of "brutalism." I just don't find the outside of the library to be brutal at all.
Rather, it appeals to me. A lot more than the Marion Parkade does. Here are the photos I took today.
June 23, a week from today, the Salem City Council is going to decide whether to move forward with studying the feasibility of converting the library into a police facility. Check out the Salem Community Vision post about this.
Lovers of the library will be able to tell the City Council "Hands off our library!" during the public comment period at the beginning of the June 23 council meeting (it starts at 6:30 pm; get there ahead of time to sign up).
Or you can email the City Council and tell them how you feel about the possibility of moving the library to the Marion Parkade and having the current library building be remodeled into a police facility.