Wednesday, February 16, 2011


It appears that a plan to relocate the Chapel Hill Public Library to University Mall is now unlikely to happen. I assume that this means that we will proceed with the original plan to use the bond money to build an addition on the current facility and operate temporarily out of U-Mal during the construction.

This was an interesting process that engaged many people and with varying opinions. But what did we learn from the process? First, it’s very clear that people in Chapel Hill are very passionate about their library, and from the letters, and other comments, they care where it’s located. Some like the current sylvan setting; some thought the mall would be more assessable, and others were on the fence. Second, it’s clear that whenever we have something like this come up, those who see a conspiracy in everything will be heard from. There were any number of conspiracies bandied about and as you would expect, some people believed them. Third, we should value that the manager and staff followed an analytical process to evaluate the proposal and that our Council let them work the process.

The possibility that the decision would be based on emotions or private business interests or anything other than what is the best use of our money did concern some people, but that was not how it played out. Last, I think we should have learned that the process we follow to make a decision is critical, and the more open it is and the more we deal with facts and not conjecture, the better our decisions will be. Now let’s get busy building our library addition.