The Main Library
Did you happen to read the article on the early stages of the possible renovation of the Main Library? I like what I am hearing from Mr. Brown, the library director. I think looking at the Main Library as a possible Imaginon for adults would be a great idea. I know that teens meet up at Imaginon and spend a day there using the facility. Friends that don't live in the same neighborhood have a fun place to rendezvous. A place that their parents know is safe.
I would like to see a Main Library that is a facility that adults will go to just for the heck of it. A place in downtown where they don't have to worry about parking or dodging transients. Right now the Main Library isn't a gathering place. Those that work downtown use it for picking up items they have placed on hold or browsing the CD or DVD collection. When I go down to do research I see a bunch of homeless people hanging out and that's it. Most other people seem to come in and get what they want and leave. Balancing the needs of transient citizens and year round residents has always been a challenge for libraries in big cities. Books have been written on that topic, I think.
I've always thought that partnering with a coffee shop would be a great idea for the downtown library. Initially I thought they were going to put in a coffee shop and then I saw that a cart had been stuck near the entrance on the first floor. I'd like to see a working coffee shop with its own entrance and periodical collection at the corner of Sixth and Tryon. It could be a gathering place full of good coffee, magazines, out-of-town newspapers and wireless internet. Something like a Border's Books and Music. Since it has its own entrance it could make its own hours and you could even have entertainment in there at night. A little stage could be stuck in the corner and you could have music, readings or even stand up comedy.
I'd also like to see a gaming room that was open the same hours as the library. Right now they have gaming events and every machine is used. A room devoted to gaming would be unique and a huge hit.
I remember traveling to Winston-Salem with a friend a few years ago to see a band play at a club. Being library people we decided we should go to the local main library. We did and we left pretty quickly. It was an old building full of homeless guys. It wasn't a bad library, I'd use it if I lived there. They had plenty of material and computers but it was just not a place that was conducive to killing a few hours of time. What did we do? We went to Border's. I would like to see the Mecklenburg Main Library become a place where someone like me would go the library to see what it was like and then stay for a few hours because it offered me a reasons to hang out.