Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bishops Bay Branch Library in Middleton's Future?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

The original plan for Middleton Hills also included a designated space for a library.  At that time -- 1993 -- a 32,000-square-foot library was just  three years old, and a conservative-leaning council was not inclined to make another significant capital expenditure for the library anytime soon.  In the final set of plans, the word "library" was removed.

As you can see from the map below, The Community of Bishops Bay (homes priced from $250,000 to $1,000,000+), will be the Middleton neighborhood farthest removed from the library.

And at this point in its development, Middleton has only way one direction in which to grow -- north, away from the library and toward the proposed North Mendota Parkway (dotted reddish-brown line)....and Waunakee (in whose school district the project is located).

The idea of a branch library, sited somewhere in the northern portion of the city, was revisited and publicly addressed during a series of six focus group discussions held at the Middleton Public Library in 2007.

Facilitator Ethel Himmel guided each group through the following series of questions.

I’ve heard some discussion about a branch for the Middleton Public Library. Do you think that’s a good idea? Why or why not? If you think there should be a branch, what services would you recommend be offered there? How would it be different from the current Middleton Public Library? Where would it be located?

The general response?   The majority of respondents expressed a preference for a full-service library.

As for a Bishops Bay Branch, don't hold your breath.  For now, file it under "probably not". According to my wife, who represents Middleton's 3rd aldermanic district and serves on the Public Works Committee, the development of The Community of Bishops Bay is planned to take place over a period of 30 years.  And as with Middleton Hills, no city officials or staff requested that a library be included in the development plans.  (Not as far as I know, anyway.)

What do I think about the idea of a branch library?

Due to continuing developments in technology and an increased emphasis on programming for all ages, to name two broad areas, the current facility is less than adequate to implement the library's evolving service program. And due to site constraints, there has never been sufficient staff workspace and off-street public parking.

At least that's what I thought in 2007 and 2008, as I approached "retirement".

I guess I'll leave it to you to read between the lines.

No comments: