Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Salt Lake City Branch Planning: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Search for 2 new SLC library sites gets messy. (Salt Lake Tribune, 5/27/2011)

Excerpt:   Libraries serve as community gathering spots — sanctuaries from stress and society’s cutthroat culture. Yet well before the first shovels hit the dirt, just picking where Salt Lake City’s two newest branches will go has proved contentious, divisive and, perhaps, politicized.

For years, new libraries have been planned in the Glendale and Marmalade neighborhoods. Much of the funding is in place or planned as a future tax increase, and multiple forums have been staged to harness public input. The Library Board has even picked its preferred spots.

But the messy — some insiders say “flawed” — selection process has created as many questions as answers.

Board members heading each site search recently quit those committees in protest. Some Marmalade businessmen maintain their site was ignored in “scandalous” fashion. And critics inside and out of City Hall insist the Mayor’s Office itself tried to sink the Glendale location overwhelmingly favored by residents

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