When is a Library Not a Library?

(Multimedia would be nice.  I’d like to be able to read that title in the voice of Frank Gorshin. )

Just like the Fillmore project – hell, just like every county project, the new seven-story Silver Spring “library” is already over budget – and construction isn’t due to start for another year, at least.  The budget for the project is $63.7 million.

The library space itself – and I love libraries — is questionable.  The space for the library is not twice, not thrice, but five times larger than the current Silver Spring library.  Just how large is the book collection compared to the book collection at the current Silver Spring Library?

But the library space is the minority of the project.  More than half the floors in the building are to be dedicated to non-library uses.  The building will have an art gallery, county offices, public meeting rooms, a coffee shop — a coffee shop! — , subsidized space for some community groups, and – oh, yes – a library.

So why call it a library?  Because, like schools, it’s easier to build public support for a ”library” than for another unneeded county office building, and purchasing support for subsidized space for politically connected community groups.  (How many civic buildings does that make in Silver Spring alone?)

So rather than calling it a seven-story high monument to wastefulness, it’s called a “library.”  Of course, calling it a library doesn’t make it a library.  The Pentagon isn’t a restaurant just because it has a cafeteria.

Explore posts in the same categories: Budget and Taxes, Edifice Complex

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