Link to October 5 Wisconsin State Journal guest post by Sue Bauman, Joe Sensenbrenner, and Joel Skornicka,
Excerpt: The experience of other cities that have recently built new central libraries clearly indicates that a new, exciting, state-of-the-art Central Library will result in significant increases in circulation and visits.
Des Moines, Iowa (which has a population similar to Madison's) constructed a new library in 2005. Both circulation and visits more than doubled and remain at that level nearly three years later. The same phenomena occurred in St. Cloud, Minnesota (which built a library in July 2008) and in Salt Lake City, Utah (which built a library in 2003).
This experience suggests a new Central Library will enjoy substantially increased use by Madison residents.
Additionally, providing access to information and enhanced public spaces for programs and meetings is part of the character of Madison. All of this will make a new Central Library an additional Downtown destination.
Everyone who has spent time at the current Central Library knows it has deteriorated over the past 20 years while money has been spent to create an outstanding branch library system. However, the Central Library, which should be the showpiece of the system and the library's "central nervous system" has, as a consequence, been neglected.
The need to do something about Central Library has become increasingly urgent.
Noticeably absent: Paul Soglin. And I see no category for "libraries" at his Waxing America blog.