A brand new state-of-the-art library would have been wonderful.
But this is nice, too. Haverford Township Library officials decided that, in the end, it’s better to stay put and fix what you already have.
Given their limited options at this point, we think that’s the best way to go as well,.
Dreams of a brand-spanking new library at the proposed municipal services complex at Darby and Manoa roads were dashed in September 2014 when township commissioners opted to build the new center without a library.
There had still been hope that the library could solve its aging building and limited parking problems by finding another building to move into.
They looked for a new place to set up shop, away from the old 1926 bank building at Darby and Mill roads. Buildings like the Brookline School, the Grimes Center and the township administration building were either unavailable, too small, too expensive, or in bad neighborhood locations.
Which leaves them where they are. And where they are needs a lot of work, according to a 2013 Utilization study. The library has an aging infrastructure, pace deficiencies, code and ADA compliance issues and safety concerns.
And a mere 17 parking spaces. While it seems as if the library is in an ideal spot, off a main route, a close neighbor of the middle school and high school, there was still that parking issue that kept the library from being fully utilized easily by the community.
Library officials hope that acquiring an adjacent residential property will open up some parking.
We assume the library has been a good neighbor over the years, aside from desperate library patrons parking on residential streets.
There are many worse things to have on your street than a library and by now the neighbors should be used to having them around. The trick will be to expand the library’s footprint with the additional parking without making an impact on the neighborhood.
Library Director Chris Faris is not oblivious to the concerns.
“It’s important that the library protect the look and feel of the neighborhood but address the need for parking,” she said at a meeting commissioners last week.
The library has a lot to gain with the proposed renovations. There would be more space, more technology, ADA compliance, energy efficiency, a modern kitchen and, yes, more parking.
It’s been a while (1979) since the library was renovated and expanded.
Since then,the library’s role in the community has grown. Through its outreach, it now offers many community programs at the site, from guest speakers to teen events. These changes can help the library continue its mission and give the community the access it needs to enjoy these programs.