Monday, November 28, 2005

Goodbye Annie

Last Wednesday was the final day that the Annie Wittenmyer branch of the Davenport Public Library was open. There was an open house during normal hours, and at 7 they had a farewell ceremony which was sort of a loving roast of the building's deficiencies. Some of the employees even got a little choked up as they each talked about their memories in the old building. It was touching, but I felt somewhat out of place. Ten years ago I would have known most of the people there, but I've slowly become more of a downtown library user than the biweekly branch visitor I was growing up. I have good memories of being careful not to let Dewey the library cat escape when entering the library, or checking out Boxcar Children or Hardy Boys books as a kid. I also thought about the fact that I've never gone into the library via the front door, as I grew up to the west of Annie Wittenmyer.

The staff was quick to point out that the new branch is opening on January 14th with many of the same people working there who worked at Annie Wittenmyer. While it seems like its way over there, its still within 6 miles of the current library. A 15 minute drive isn't too bad, at least for the 2 or 3 years until the new East side branch gets built. I'm curious to see what the city is going to do with the soon-vacant building that has housed the branch for so many years. I also wondered what happened to the aerial view of the neighborhood that they used to have hanging over the Xerox machine. Maybe it will reappear when the new branch is built. I'm thankful to all of the folks who've worked there over the years to provide us with a cozy neighborhood library.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm mad as hell about it.

A couple years ago when the Library asked me to vote myself a $40-something/year tax, and my fellow citizens outvoted me just about 2-to-1, they didn't tell me that part of the deal was that I'd be losing the library branch that I choose to use.

Last week, the nice lady there quickly pointed out that I could go to any of the other locations. That's not the point; they get into our pockets and then use the money not for _additional_ facilities but for _replacement_ facilities.

QuadCityImages said...

Well, I remember reading at the time that it was for a new west branch on the land that they got on Fairmount, plus a new east branch out on 53rd to replace the current branch. I could see how it was in their interests not to publicize that as much though, so maybe most people didn't hear that.

Anonymous said...

Went to the downtown library the other day. First time in 10 years. Wow. Nothing in there but the downtown homeless. Expensive building - maybe JLCS could take that over and we can hope the branches bring in more business.

Any stats on how much we're spending of our tax dollars PER DAVENPORT PATRON that actually walks into that building in a year?? I think the answer may make us all cry. The utilities on that building alone have to be incredible - all that glass and no insulation. Maybe a fancy architect, but not designed for cost effectiveness in operations.

QuadCityImages said...

Hey 10:58PM, name something you LIKE about Davenport? Can you?

Anonymous said...

I am really disappointed in the quality of books the library has. I never used the Annie Whittenmyer branch, have always gone downtown. I wish they would stick to two libraries and invest in buying current non-fiction books.