The Winter Park Public Library will host three Community Conversations next week. Meetings will be in the Library Community Room on the first floor.
Dates & Times:
Wednesday June 1 — 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
Thursday, June 2 — 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 — 12:00 Noon to 2:30 p.m.
Public Conversations About the New Facility
Residents will have the opportunity to get facts about the proposed project. Discussion will include the characteristics and best practices of 21st-century libraries. Library personnel will be on hand to gather residents’ feedback to further define our community’s priorities for materials, services and programs in the new facility.
The three sessions will follow an informal, open-house-style format. Flexible times are designed to accommodate as many residents as possible.
Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.
Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”
The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.
In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.
The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.
This is about as close to them admitting that the residents never got all the facts before the vote, that we can ever hope for.
Seven and a half hours of meetings scheduled to tell residents about their plans for their new library. Interesting. VERY interesting.
Oh, and they’ll be taking public input. How positively sporting of them. If the way they are welcoming the 2,000 Winter Park residents’ signatures on the petition to keep the library out of MLK Park is any indication of how interested they are in public input, residents should ask them to clean the wax out of their ears before offering any additional suggestions.
These meetings are about drilling down on what will go on INSIDE the new library, and they were a planned part of the process from since last fall. On election night, we said that the vote was the beginning of a new set of conversations about making this new library the very best it can be for our community. These are the first of those conversations. Now that we have a voter-determined green light for the scope and nature of the project, of course we move forward asking the community for further input.
We will not be discussing or taking input about the location or the physical structure itself. This will be a city-owned facility and the city and the architect will take the lead on those matters. But we know libraries and we know our patrons — so we have a pretty good idea of what is possible. Now it’s up to our residents to help us tailor the materials, services and programs specifically for them.
This is known as “taking the wind out of their sails.” The theory goes that if the residents are mad, just let them come in and talk about it, and tell them everything will be OK, and they’ll go back home, have their milk and cookies, go to sleep, and the next day would never even think of signing a petition or walking into a voting booth to stop the desecration of MLK Park.
A nice try but it won’t work. Winter Park residents may be a little slow to catch on at times, but are by no means stupid. And, no, a dunk tank for City Commissioners won’t work either so don’t even think about it. Neither will an extra free hot dog, or even a cold beer, in Central Park on the 4th of July pacify the wrath of deceived residents.
Commissioners instead will have to endure what few Commissioners have in Winter Park history. An open public rebuke by residents at the ballot box for their unconscionable act of insubordination and deception against the people of Winter Park when Commissioners tried to trick residents at the March election into paving over one of the last vast green spaces in our beloved city.
I don’t want to put the library on the spot with a question at one of these meetings, so I will ask my question here. Why would you, the library, choose to insult our neighbors in Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary, Oviedo, and Winter Springs, by insinuating that their libraries are not consistent with “21st century best practices?” Isn’t “best practices” a highly subjective term that is being used improperly now to imply an objectivity that doesn’t exist, in order to persuade residents that the Winter Park Library is obsolete when, in fact, Winter Park Library is on par with, or superior to, any of its peer libraries in surrounding Central Florida communities?
I would ask if you have actually visited a branch of the Seminole County Library System, the Maitland Public Library or the Altamonte Springs Library…because if you had, you would know that they are not forward-looking libraries at this time. To Maitland’s credit, they are actively planning to enhance their services and facilities. It’s not insulting. It’s the truth.
The term “best practices” is being used exactly as intended – to describe proscribed methods, services and materials determined to appropriately service 21st century library users by leading experts in the library profession. There are library best practices does indeed have best practices the same way educators, accountants and engineers do.
We still hope you will come and engage with us.
With all due respect, it is arrogant to say that our neighboring libraries are not using “best practices.” I agree the library plans are “best” for Winter Park real estate developers and library bosses. But that doesn’t change the fact that Seminole County schools are consistently rated better than Winter Park schools. And libraries are an important part of the intellectual development of students. So if Winter Park is turning its nose up to Seminole County libraries, maybe we should stop patting ourselves on the back about how “21st Century” we are in our thinking around here, and start acting and thinking more like Seminole County than like some library egg head at an out of state “non-profit” that is trying to dictate what our library should be.
I wish these 3 meetings were over a period of more than 1 week. What happened to the ones that were previously scheduled for earlier in May, in the Community Room? The same thing happened last summer when meetings were scheduled for the part of the year when many residents are out of town,
JT, we were asked to reschedule the meetings because they were scheduled to happen before the City’s selection committee recommended an architect. They wanted to make sure that firms close enough to attend the meetings didn’t have an advantage over those further away. The City follows strict procedures to make sure its RFQ and vendor selection process is thorough and fair, so we changed the dates to comply with their request.
Clearly we need to get the petition signed and move forward with an educated electorate having a voice. We need to get a handle on operating costs and get a realistic size for a library in a town of our size. We need the other parts of the project to be addressed separately with citizen input about the non library components and whether they are needed.
If all cast ballots were counted then the tax increase known as a bond referendum did not pass. There were 6 percent that abstained but abstaining votes do not count per Fl courts. As an aside we need to change city charter to count abstaining votes as part of the denominator in tax increase votes.
Also the city could get more support if it broaden the tax base, currently Florida Hospital’s Winter Park Campus formerly known as Winter Park Memorial Hospital pays no property taxes but is assessed at about $75 million, add that to the tax roles and that reduces each individual homeowners taxes. I believe Rollins is in the same situation and about the same assessed value. Increasing the tax basis $150 million would clearly make the tax increase more palatable.