Initial Report of the Library District Task Force

This is what was handed out at Tuesday afternoon’s library district task force meeting

Initial Report of the Library District Task Force
October 4, 2012
Worcester Public Library
3 Salem Square
Worcester MA

Mission Statement:

The Worcester Public Library serves as a gathering place that actively promotes the free exchange of ideas in our democratic society.  The Library makes information and services available to all people while fostering intellectual freedom, protecting privacy, encouraging personal growth and enrichment, and celebrating our diverse community heritage.

The Library District Task Force recommends that any development surrounding the Worcester Public Library complements its mission and services.  The Library is one of the city’s greatest assets and, with Sunday and Monday openings, it will potentially bring a million visitors to the center city.  With this in mind, the Library can play an essential role one that places it directly in the urban fabric of the district.  As a major player in the neighborhood, it is a component of a wider creative and cultural environment that also continues to meet its ongoing charge to provide information services and personal growth opportunities.

1. CREATE A BROADER VISION
a.  Open the process and encourage wide input from citizens
b.  Offer a charette, hosted by the Library, that enables community members to share their vision

2. DETERMINE HOW DEVELOPMENT SUPPORTS THE SUCCESS OF THE CITY AND THE LIBRARY
a.  Consider the integrity of a mixed use, cultural area

3. MAINTAIN ARCHITECTURAL INTEGRITY AND BEAUTIFICATION
a.  Ensure construction that complements city design guidelines for downtown
b.  Ensure a welcoming environment in a park-like environment
c.  Establish a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere

4.  SECURITY AND ACCESSIBILITY
a.  Determine surface parking needs, both current and projected
b.  Require readily available parking that is perceived as safe by patrons
c.  Consider construction of a parking garage with appropriate design features
d.  Given the city’s investment in the library, ensure that patrons have readily accessible and safe access; provide nearby parking for patrons with disabilities and others for whom a two-block walk would restrict accessibility
e.  Limit above noted parking to Library patrons (by signage or time restrictions)

5.  ENHANCE LIBRARY ACCESS AND OUTREACH
a.  Reconfigure Salem Street access and open up to the Common and CitySquare
b.  Make the library a hub and bring it out into the neighborhood; create linkages to other areas of the city and other programs
c.  Include walking tour from the Library, using information kiosks, docent program

6.  EXPLORATION OF ALTERNATIVE LOCATIONS FOR HOCKEY RINK AND ALTERNATIVE USE FOR THE MCGRATH MUNICIPAL PARKING LOT THAT MEETS THE PREVIOUSLY SET OUT REQUIREMENTS
a.  Although the task force is not opposed to a rink, it is not a feasible idea for this location
b.  A rink would minimize patron parking at the Library
c.  Its usage does not complement the library mission
d.  It does not seem to fit the need for development that gets people on the streets of the city center, but would be an isolated destination
e.  Architecturally, a rink would likely detract from rather than enhance the area
f.  There appear to be other city sites that would enhance the opportunities for hockey in the city

A staff survey and other public input have made the following suggestions for the municipal parking lot.  The Task Force believes that we need not only consider the lot, but also determine how the library fits into a broader urban landscape in the area bordered by Main, Franklin, Myrtle, and McGrath Boulevard.  The following are suggestions for inclusion in the development of the parking lot that include readily accessible parking:

  • Cultural/Historical/Academic including children’s museum, historical museum
  • Performance venues, including an art/independent film theatre, art galleries
  • Food venues include open market (similar to Faneuil Hall), gourmet grocery, international restaurants/stalls
  • Retail
  • Residential/office

The Task Force approved the following motion:

The Task Force is not in favor of positioning an ice rink in the McGrath Municipal parking lot and is open to other options through public process in that space.

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One thought on “Initial Report of the Library District Task Force

  1. Sprout says:

    “Ensure construction that complements city design guidelines for downtown” – We have city design guidelines for downtown? They must say “refer to Eastern Bloc”.

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