] Around Columbia: May 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Daniel Boone Regional Library - The Parking Issue

There are two things that make me optimistic regarding humankind. The first are institutions of hiring learning although the commodification of higher learning is very worrisome, and the second is the institution of the public library.

The first indication that I had of library usage increasing generally was over a year ago. It was during the holiday season and I was, unfortunately, at a mall (this is when cousin Emily become separated from the herd precipitating a crisis which eventually earned her a cell phone - but that is another story). Walking around the mall that day I noticed that a lot of young people were reading and they were reading library books. This was before the economic meltdown become formal but not before there were clear indications that the economy was contracting including such indicators as a decrease in book sales and an increase in library patronage.

This is the main parking lot on the south side of the library taken from the steps at the main entrence. Business is good at the Columbia Public Library branch of the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

As far as the Daniel Boone Regional Library goes I am only knowledgeable about the facility here in Columbia having never visited any of the other locations. I am very proud to say that here in Columbia we are privileged to have a very fine public library despite an outside architecture which I can not make up my mind about although I most definitely like the interior. Columbia has had some interesting experiments with public art with mixed results.

My first introduction to the institution of the public library was during my tenure as an inmate in the elementary school block of Harrisburg R-VIII when a bookmobile from the Columbia branch would visit. I always looked forward to those visits and was pleased at the care and thought that seemed to go into making the selection that was made available to us in that limited space. By the way, the idea of the bookmobile was the brainchild of one Mary Titcomb with the first one outfitted for reaching remote locations in coming into service during 1905.

Through the years I have regularly frequented the library throughout its moves and renovations including the edifice we now enjoy. Regarding the present situation I have good and bad news. The good news is that the library is more popular than ever and full of patrons young and old. The bad news is that the library is more popular than ever and full of patrons young and old who unfortunately do not teleport to the facility but come mostly in motor vehicles that require parking. By the way, I do not recommend the alternative of parking on the street having had my vans driver side rear view mirror knocked off (a white Dodge Caravan if the culprit would like to make amends even at this late date - you know who you are). Presently there are many times when the main parking lot is full and then you have to contend with the parking vultures who circle round and round so they don't have to walk an extra fifty yards. Since I don't want to be one of those people, and I want to avoid getting side swiped again, I park across the street on the North side of Broadway to avoid the aggravation.

Overflow parking lot across from the library on the North side of Broadway

So far the overflow parking across the street from the library has not failed me although sometimes it has been close. The biggest issue with the overflow parking is crossing a very busy intersection with a cranky crossing light that seems to sometimes randomly skip a cycle when you are trying to cross the street in either direction. My advice for now is that if you have a lot of books go to the main lot and put them in the outside receptacles and then go across the street to park. Then you have to go to the crosswalk and push the button and then wait your turn to cross.

The infamous walking button. Pushing it multiple times does not speed things up. Trust me on this.

Having pressed the button I am now acing South waiting for the light to change at the busy intersection of East Broadway and North Garth

I love the Daniel Boone Regional Library. I have read thousands of books from that institution and have had four children and a spouse who also continue to benefit from it. The idea of a public library is a noble thing and whatever we spend on the Daniel Boone Regional Library is one of the best investments that we could possible make and I daresay we receive a better return on it than almost any other public expenditure.

I will live with the crowded parking but I do wish they would expand their hours.

Stories about libary useage increasing during a recession: