hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Count Begins

Last night, the Parks Board met and agreed to the final (and 9th) draft of a Memo of Understanding with the Friends of the Point Roberts Library and the Whatcom County Library System.   In this Memo, the Parks Board gives the Friends of the Library five years to raise sufficient funds to remodel and rennovate the Julius Firehall and the WCLS agrees to take over the operation of a library in that renovated building.  In the interim five years, the Julius Firehall may be used for other purposes by the Parks Board, but at such time as the necessary funds are raised, the Firehall will become the new library.

There was some discussion by some attendees at the meeting suggesting that the Firehall could have better uses: specifically, that it could be used as a gymnasium with little remodeling.  And indeed that could be done during the period when funds are being raised.  And there was some discussion associated with the idea that instead of remodeling an old building, the community should have an entirely new building that would serve both current community center functions as well as a new library and commercial enterprises of various sorts, although there was no mention of where the money would come from for that grandiose vision, and I'm pretty sure that the Friends of the Point Roberts Library aren't interested in raising sufficient funds to build an entire new civic complex.  So I'm not sure what that was all about, except the usual Point Roberts 'Wouldn't It Be Great If....".

I have lived here long enough to have heard this theme numerous times: 'Wouldn't it be great if we had a theater for concerts?' Or a shopping mall?  Or a swimming pool?  Or a pizza delivery place? Or a ferry from Bellingham?  Or whatever it was you had in the place that you used to live in and that you miss.  I, personally, would like Trader Joe's to open  up a branch in Point Roberts.  But I don't expect that to happen.  So I don't spend too much time talking to friends and neighbors about what a good idea that would be.

But about this library: well, I am prepared to talk about what a good idea it would be and to act in the interests of that idea.  The signing of the Memo of Understanding means that the Friends of the Point Roberts Library is about to step forward to raise a half million dollars to create a building that can house a 21st Century American Library.  What we have now is barely a 20th Century American Library.  Andrew Carnegie, who was a major figure in creating this country's public library system, would be proud of this small group of people.  Like Carnegie himself, who promised thousands of communities that he would provide them a building, if they would run a real public library in it, the Parks Board and the Friends of the Library will be working to provide that building which the Whatcom County Library Association has promised to turn into the kind of library that this community needs.

Those of us in Point Roberts, both the Friends of the Library and the much more numerous friends of the library, have five years.  We've got a lot of work to do.

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