Selling a Millage
Like other libraries around the country, the AADL "has evolved into a cultural and sharing space," says Serras. In part, the evolution reflects a hunger for community space in a nation increasingly segregated by income and interests. However, it also reflects libraries' realization that their traditional roles as places where people do quiet research and borrow books are diminished in a world where "google" is a verb and Amazon's best-selling product is the Kindle e-reader. "With a library in a world that is changing daily," Surovell says, "we have to change along with it."
In September 2008, the board, after discussing and dismissing another renovation, voted unanimously to tear down and replace the library. As the magnitude of the Great Recession became clear, though, the effort was suspended just two months later.
At the end of last year, the board decided the economy had improved enough to revive the project. Last spring, they commissioned a survey that found that 61 percent of registered voters either supported or were "leaning toward" supporting the construction of a new library.
But Lyn Davidge, who's running for the AADL board, argues that while the economy has improved recently it's not exactly robust. Davidge is also uneasy that design of the new building remains vague. "People are asking for specifics and they're not forthcoming," she says. Parker responds that while local architect Carl Luckenbach had been hired to do some preliminary planning, hiring a project architect and establishing a design process will hinge on the bond's passage.