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Money and Access at Issue in Gladwyne Library Renovation

Some community members said public money should not be invested in a privately-owned building.

When members of the Gladwyne community met Wednesday night for a meeting about the proposed accessibility renovations to the Gladwyne Free Library, almost everyone agreed that they love the library.

And that’s where the agreements seemed to end.

In a spirited discussion, a majority of the people who spoke at the meeting, which included new sketches of the proposed addition that would house an elevator, said they wanted alternatives to making the library accessible.

Currently the library’s board is in negotiations with Lower Merion Township over an agreement that the township would pay for renovations to the privately-owned building.

That was a point of contention as well at the meeting.

Gladwyne Civic Association president Bob Foulk Jr. said he is in favor of the library being accessible to everyone, but has “serious reservations about using public monies on a private building.”

The budget for the project, soup to nuts, is $1.5 million. It includes adding an elevator, an ADA-approved bathroom, a new young adult section and rearranging the employee’s work area.

The majority of comments from the crowd centered on the cost of the project, the tax monies that would be used for it, and an apparent lack of alternatives proposed for the project.

But even the main purpose of the library itself got caught in the fight, as a few people mentioned that they now use e-readers.

“In five years, you’re not going to read all those books,” said a woman who declined to give her name to Bryn Mawr Patch.

What do you think about the proposed accessibility project? Tell us by commenting below.

Melissa Boveroux March 01, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Doesn't the law require the accessibility of public buildings? As the library is in a privately owned building then would it cost less to move it to an available publicly owned building that is already outfitted? Does Gladwyne have one? Ought it buy this building? Or do all those literate folks with e-readers believe that all can have e-readers and borrow free books from ,mmm, which library used to be there??

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