From: Catherine Mora Cleary
As I read and reread Chris Rogers’ article of November 10 regarding changes at the Winona Public Library, I felt disbelief, anger, and sadness.
It is common knowledge that the City of Winona has destroyed many historic buildings. Usually this is done from the outside, but not this time. This time it is being done from the inside, fueled by a notion that we citizens cannot appreciate the architecture of the library’s interior with all those pesky books distracting us from its beauty.
Hearing Chad Ubl quoted as saying that “he and his staff have yet to decide what to do with the extra room the have created,” made me wonder what ‘plan’ is being put into place here. Change may be called for; space may be at a premium. However, what I have read so far sounds arbitrary and incomplete. Is the library going to be a destination for bus tours, with admission charged to view the interior of the library?
Ubl also says he “welcomes more public conversation.” This sounds insincere when one looks at the changes made, the books gone, the shelves with their beautiful end pieces carted away, without any public input at all. Even the Friends of the Library were not given a voice, and yet it does seem there ought to be a public accounting here, a public explanation, a presentation of ‘the plan,’ whatever that might be.
The purposeful dismantling of a public treasure without input or oversight holds us all hostage to what may turn out to be one person’s limited view of what our community wants and needs in a PUBLIC library.