Thursday, March 24, 2011
From Library Branch to Internet Room (w/ Fireplace)
Newport may close Balboa library branch. (Daily Pilot, 3/24/2011)
Excerpt: At a meeting about the Balboa Peninsula's Marina Park development Wednesday, city officials unveiled plans to close the Balboa Branch — which houses 35,000 items, including books, DVD and other materials — and to dedicate a portion of the Marina Park Community Center to an "electronic library."
By eliminating books and librarians at the building, they hope to adapt to modern times and save money while providing residents services they'll actually use. In the process, they would replace the library's most iconic features with Internet connections.
"That caused me the most angst," said City Manager Dave Kiff. "People identify [book] stacks with the library."
But officials analyzed how its patrons use the branches and found that most come for a quiet place to study, to plug their laptops into work spaces and to use the Internet-connected computers. Few of them actually remove books from the shelves.
That's especially the case at the Balboa branch, said Cynthia Cowell, library services director.
"They come specifically to use the computers," she said. "We have a lot of electronic use of the library, and it's getting bigger all the time."
The new facility would have a 2,200-square-foot "Internet library" room with a central fireplace and a kiosk where patrons could order books to borrow using an online system. Some seats and tables would look out onto the bay.