Of the many places downtown I find that I have a special place in my heart for the library. I know that it is a crappy late 70’s building and it is way overcrowded. Actually I kind of like the crowd. It tells me that Olympians really use their library. I like that I see people from all walks of life there. And though it is a late 70’s vintage building it seems to have taken on a special character due to the people that frequent it. Besides it is right next to Fertile Ground and Media Island and the cool street furniture and art at the intersection, and you all know how much I love intersections.
We do need a new library, not to reduce the crowds or the proximity between users, I like the cheek and jowl that goes on at the library. Any new building would represent what the community wants in the library, hopefully from the get go. No doubt it will evolve from there. I suspect that there will be a new library in our future. I’d like to see a larger library, to be sure, with more materials available on the shelf. I’d like to see more room for the various functions that currently require rationing by the library.
I’d also like to see that the library, when the new building is built, provide some new services for the public. I’d like to see later hours. At least to midnight. I’d like to see year round Sunday hours. I’d like to see public showers. Huh? Hey, if you are going to build a building from the ground up it is at that point you add the features needed by the community. One of the things that the homeless need in Olympia is a place to shower, and also do laundry. So adjacent to the library, when it is built, I’d propose a wash room, staffed by volunteers where people could shower and do laundry. The library, by its very nature is a drop in center for the homeless, and a finer place I can’t imagine. Let the library be more humane in the future, longer hours, a place to get clean and to clean up your act.