New Erie County Library...and the "old" one?

I first mentioned a few months ago, back here, that Robert Traynham Coles is the architect for the new Frank E. Merriweather Library, located at 1326 Jefferson Avenue. Contruction of this new library is proceeding despite the Erie County budget crisis and the precarious position of Buffalo's own budget. Here's what things are looking like.

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The question is now being asked what should be done with the building owned by the City of Buffalo that houses the "old" North Jefferson Branch Library, at 334 East Utica? When I stopped in yesterday to take some pictures, I asked the librarian when the big moving day is planned. She informed me that the library will moving accross the street sometime late summer. I asked what was going to happen to this "old" libary building. She informed me that the City of Buffalo is the owner of the building and told me to call Masten District Council Member Antoine Thompson's office for additional information.

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Still, I really don't really know why Bruce Jackson from Buffalo Report told us in February 2003 that the North Jefferson Branch was decripit. While acknowledging Microsoft's contribution which I knew nothing about:
  • Bill Gates’ personal foundation has put a lot of money into inner city libraries in Buffalo...
I was stunned with Bruce's description of this branch library. Yesterday, I saw a well lit, fully functional library with patrons and students checking out materials and using computers. A scene very similar to what happens on regular basis at the Crane Branch on Elmwood Avenue. Maybe Bruce Jackson has never been to this branch and was actually referring to the neighborhood. Or, maybe he was really thinking about what will happen to this old library building with out effective marketing mechanisms in place to sell surplus city properties. Who knows...Bruce, let me know.

Meanwhile, I didn't see a "for-sale" sign on the property either. I mean if you knew you were going to be moving in a few months, would'nt you have have a "for-sale" on your house? With real estate, as with so many other aspects of municipal life here in Buffalo, there has to be a more effective way of handling "surplus property."

Way cool loft possibilites and artist studios...
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1 comment:

Craig said...

Your points about the re-use of the old library are spot on, but let me just take a moment to talk about the new one -- your pictures are the first I've seen.

I'm not pleased. It's interesting "looking" -- attractive even maybe, but it doesn't do a thing to help the street outside. Any building put up in Buffalo now should be right up on the sidewalk with lots of windows. People inside should be able to see out and the people outside should be looking in.

The interior lights spilling out onto the sidewalk provide a very necessary element in urban life -- security. This new library looks to create an "oasis" of darkness and potential danger outside. Buffalo's planning department should really be aware of these things and head them off in the future. Government's famous for promoting dumb architecture -- just look at UB.