Monday, June 30, 2008

John Szabo - Public Library System Director

Less than a month ago, the leadership of the Fulton County Commission voted to amend it's Library Master Plan. So that now, instead of providing funding for the expected cost of repairs and general maintenance of the existing infrastructure, they want to instead build a very expensive new Central Branch...and abandon the existing Central Branch all together. This has all come about in a very short period of time.

Yet now that it public knowledge that the future of the Central Branch is in question. We need to know what the Director of the Library System believes to be in the best interest of the public.
After all, this is a public institution. So the publics' voice should be heard. This can't just be a hurried and hushed, a one sided debate? Thus, where does the Director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System stand on all this?

Well? Click here to read his opinion... opinion that was published just a few days ago in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It's a glowing, well-penned piece that highlights out all the pros and omits many of the cons. Nonetheless, I admire and respect Mr. Szabo for having the courage to be so forthright in his desires. Yet, one still has to wonder if he fully comprehends all sides of the issues. Like, what about the costs, costs that just might sink the entire plan? And again, why build something we don't really need. And too, why are we in such a rush? Don't we need more than a month to decide on something this big and important? Mr Szabo, on an issue that has become one of the library system's most important issues of all times, now more than ever, we really need your guidance.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Atlantans For Progressive Libraries

While this blog was created specifically to address the future concerns of the Central Branch Library, there is also another historically significant public library currently at risk, the Buckhead Branch. As well, for those who might be interested in getting a broader scope of other pressing agendas that relate directly and indirectly to the Central Branch and the Buckhead Branch, there is a very informative site packed with lots of good information: click here

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Central Branch


The Issue:

In the course of this year, Fulton County, represented by it's commissioners, has created a master plan for the entire public library system. This master plan essentially renovates, overhauls, and upgrades the entire public library system. Meaning that, some new libraries will be built, others will be restored. At the center of all this are John Eaves (district 1), Commission Chairman and Commissioner At Large, Rob Pitts (district 2) Commissioner At Large, and Tom Lowe (district 4).

Now originally, the Central Branch, which is the crown jewel of the entire library system, was slated for a much needed renovation. And as best I know, that renovation was voted on by the board of commissioners and as a result of a majority "yea" vote, the building was assured a safe, secure future. Then, in a surprise twist, just weeks before the final vote was to take place on the library master plan (which then becomes a bond referendum for public vote in November) one of the commissioners, Mr. Rob Pitts, made a motion to amend the master plan. This amendment would take the money already allotted for the Central Branch and divert it toward the construction cost of building, what I suppose he considers, a bigger, better (visually and technologically au courant) public library. And herein lies the problem and the heated debate that has ensued. Because, as it stands, some (including myself) see this as a rather Faustian deal. On the surface it sounds good, but when one realizes that this newer, grander library would come at the expense of one of Atlanta's most iconic and historically significant architectural structures, the amended plan starts to seem questionable.


Because, progress should not come at the price of preservation. And furthermore, if we are struggling to take care of what we have, why burden ourselves with something new?

But let's be clear about this. Bigger, better, not a bad thing. In fact, it can sometimes be good. However, we must be (with satisfaction) able to challenge and address the concerns for all parties involved. We can't just move full steam ahead without looking both ways, as this might surely lead to disaster. In short, in some, way, shape or form, the future of the existing Central Branch must be affirmed and ensured.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Preserving our civic heritage while ensuring a path to progression

The creation of this blog has been done so as to provide a public forum for the preservation of the Marcel Breuer, Bauhaus designed, Atlanta-Fulton Central Branch Public Library. For as it stands the future of this priceless, iconic structure now hangs in the balance. And while the function of this building and it's historic presence holds dear and near to the hearts of many, this is especially true for me, as my own personal art and design experience is in direct aesthetic lineage to the original German Bauhaus School.

For those who are interested in this matter, you may click here to find a page that provides a solid overview of the Central Branch's origin and history. And within that site there are a multitude of links which one can use to delve deeper into rich architectural genealogy of the building's creator.

In the days and weeks to follow this site will be updated to provide a chronology of important developments and call(s) to action.


Max Eternity