CINCINNATI -- Despite running one of the busiest libraries in the country, the board and management of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are talking about downsizing and closing the Main Library's North Building, which is across the street from the main downtown facility.
They're even considering selling the taxpayer-funded real estate, possibly to a private developer.
The North Building was constructed in 1997 in a multimillion-dollar expansion that included renovations to the main building.
The possibility of a building sale has led to protests and contentious meetings. The library board has yet to make a final decision, so we wanted to know what you think.
Our What You Said question this week was: Should the library close and sell its North Building?
A strong majority of those who responded said "no." In our online, completely unscientific poll, 66 percent said no, don't close it, and 22 percent said yes, go ahead. (Twelve percent took the third option: "I can't find my library card.")
Charles Campbell emailed that library officials have posed a false choice:
I'm strongly opposed to the closure and possible sale of the North Building. The board and administration is trying to pitch this as a choice between supporting the Main Library or supporting the branches. Guess what? We don't have to choose! There's ample community support to keep Main and improve the branches at the same time. This is not rocket science!
On our Facebook page, Eileen Crowe suggested that there must be some library use for the popular library:
And Deborah Carcutt wrote that it could be preserved for the future:
Franklin Ridgway of Clifton emailed that he particularly didn't like the suggestion that real estate could be sold to Over-the-Rhine developer 3CDC.:
Privatization of public spaces—especially privatization designed to benefit 3CDC— is theft. The North Building should not be sold.
Jim McMahon suggested, and Rick Vickrey agreed, that if its sold, the building's proceeds should be returned to taxpayers:
But Karl Dye, who even has book lovers in the family, emailed that library management needs to respond to changing times :
Sell it if it's underutilized. Times have changed and the internet revolution has swept through our society since the building was constructed in 1997. And yes, I love libraries. My mother was a librarian!
And Mark Hufnagel posted, "Let the people decide!"
Next week, we'll ask your opinion on another topic. In the meantime, you can go to our Facebook page or Twitter and share your thoughts there. You can share your opinions in the form of text, photos, video, drawings or audio recordings.
And take a look at our Feedback Friday page for another way to express your what's on your mind.