Thursday, April 13, 2023

Feedback: Yours

I saw a post on Facebook last night about how the community can give feedback on the new Lakefront library project. My first thought was, “cool!” My second was, “why didn’t I get that info?” 

It dawned on me this morning. I did get it. It’s in this week’s HiLights newsletter from the library. 

The Future Belongs to Everyone: Introducing the New Lakefront Library, Chapter Chats HCLS

Here’s the feedback part:

We invite your input and ideas to shape Howard County Library System’s next Strategic Plan, which will guide the future of HCLS, including the new Lakefront Library.  

Your voice matters. 

Come together with other residents who are passionate about public education and enhancing library facilities, programs, and services. Please take the online survey or attend one of these:

Listening sessions facilitated by Due East Partners.: 

Tuesday, April 11, 6:30-7:30 pm and 7:30-8:30 pm (online) 

Thursday, April 13, 10-11 am and 11 am-12 pm (Central Branch)

Saturday, April 15, 2-3 pm and 3-4pm (Central Branch) 

Monday, April 17, 4-5 pm and 5-6 pm (online)

Wednesday, April 19, 12-1 pm and 1-2 pm (Central Branch) 

Thank you for helping us thoughtfully plan how we can work together to better address the evolving aspirations of our Howard County community.

The article also addresses some of the basic questions people may have about the project. Take a look! It’s not long.

Yesterday Carla Hayden, the 14th Librarian of Congress, was interviewed on NPR’s 1A about the 2023 selections by the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. Each year they choose twenty-five examples of of audio from their collection to “…showcase the rich heritage of America’s recorded sound — an audio hall of fame.”

At the end of the interview, host Jenn White asks Dr. Hayden if she has any message for our country’s librarians who are facing an unusually challenging time right now. I found her words inspiring and to the point. Later in the day I saw this exchange on Twitter between Dr. Hayden and a young librarian.

Mychal: Grew up in the library. It’s always been one of my favorite places. I was raised by books. I used my library card to try and read them all! Became a librarian to give back to my community, to show everyone the joy, the fun of libraries. Everyone belongs at the library!

Dr. Hayden: Love this so much. The next generation of librarians who are community oriented and accessibility focused are going to continue to keep libraries strong and engaging for ALL users.

Truly, Hayden’s response encapsulates why I think the Lakefront Library is worth investing in. 

  • Accessible 
  • Community 
  • For all users

Yes, I know we are dreaming the big dream here. Having followed the progress of Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods from its first proposal as the Inner Arbor Plan to its ongoing growth as an arts park for the community, I know that the Lakefront Library will go through a painstaking process as it moves forward and that the end result may not look exactly like the beautiful pictures from the announcement.

The community will be involved. You are being invited to participate. If we are very lucky the process will not manage to wrestle the project to the ground and break its arm. 

Do have other questions that are not answered by the library article? Those questions might be better directed to the County. A big chunk of the funding for the library comes from the TIF. You may wonder what other sorts of projects could be supported with that money. That’s a fair question. There’s no reason that can’t be discussed. It’s not fair to demand that the money be spent in a way that’s not included in the TIF and then rant that “the fix is in” or the County doesn’t care about the voices of residents.

We are at the beginning. This will take time. You will not wake up tomorrow and discover the whole thing has beeen accomplished with a wave of a magic wand. 

At any moment, in a listening session near you, someone will ask with all sincerity why we can’t just have a nice cheese shop.

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