The House That Lois Built


lib2I took a little field trip this evening with Donna Ross to visit the new West Palm Beach Library at the City Center complex. As you may know there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding its construction including a lawsuit filled against mayor Lois Frankel by a citizens tax group who felt a citywide referendum should have been held to decide whether to build it. While there were also allegations of pay to play involving the developers, no charges were ever filed.

lib14After visiting the library tonight it is clear that the citizens of West Palm Beach are in Mayor Frankel’s debt for championing its construction. The library is a vibrant and extraordinary achievement and has changed the way I will look at libraries from now on. I never thought I could be so excited by lib17a library but all four floors of this building were full of people taking advantage of some of the best purpose built public spaces I have ever seen.

Like most libraries today computers are a big part of what lib9they offer the public. And like many libraries there are several spaces where computers are clustered together for public use or in classroom settings for teaching. However there are computers scattered about the entire library in more secluded locations as well as child sized work stations in the children’s department.

The children’s section is just wonderful, brightly colored with all sorts of comfy places to sit and read or be read to. I am already making plans to take my daughter Deanna there, I’m sure she will love it.

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On the same floor as the children’s section we found a dance class in progress where an instructor was teaching the tango.

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lib12Of course a library is first and foremost a place for books and this one is no exception.  But this library goes one better than most others, on all four floors you will find a help desk.  We spoke with several people staffing the help desks and were amazed by their cheerful willingness to assist us.  Their pride in the new library was infectious as they explained all of the features, services and events.  Also scattered throughout the library are small stations where you can use a computer to find what you are looking for without having to go to one of the help desks.

Once you have found your book you can choose from the many reading areas. The chairs and tables are comfortable and placed in a way that you don’t have that uncomfortable feeling you get reading at a table with a bunch of other people. Walk around the library and you will find that the style of seating in every section is a little bit different, fun and inviting.

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For me the best part of the library is the fourth floor. This is where the reference section is located and the architecture and design pay homage to classic library style without feeling dated or overbearing. It sets the appropriate note for the traditionally most “serious section” of a library.

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lib4When Donna and I were leaving we decided to ask if you had to be a resident of West Palm Beach to get a library card. We were delighted to find that all we need to provide was a photo ID and we could get a card! We both signed up and were given a card, actually we were given two cards each. One is a traditional wallet sized card while the other is a smaller one that can go right on your key chain. The small card is used to operate the automatic checkout system.

Since we now had library cards Donna and I went back to the extensive DVD section and picked out a few movies. When were returned to the checkout a librarian showed us that all we had to do was swipe our key chain card and place all our books or DVDs under the monitor and it would read them all and print out a receipt! Amazing!

lib1Cards and DVDs in hand we left the library and decided to explore the rest of City Center. As we rounded a corner we happend to run into Mayor Frankel and told her we had come from Lake Worth to see the new library. She asked us what we thought of it and was visibly pleased with our reply.

If you can, by all means visit the West Palm Beach library. While I can’t guarantee you’ll bump into the mayor, I can guarantee you will be impressed by what a library can be.

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6 Comments on “The House That Lois Built”

  1. Lynn Says:

    Although fabulous, it is the other way around regarding who should be indebted to whom. The people are now forced into a very BIG debt to pay for this $156 million city center. The people won in the supreme Court of Florida to vote on this. Lois paid no attention…went about her merry way. Lois Frankel is an example of the worst sort of politician and a reason why cities go bankrupt.

  2. tomspage Says:

    Actually the pac settled with the city. The city had to pay $300,000.00 to cover the pac’s legal fee’s not to mention their legal fees.

    Moving the library and demolishing the old one puts in motion the redevelopment of the waterfront area in West Palm.

    I believe that the pac’s actions worked to stifle vision and growth in West Palm. And while the cost is indeed enormous, the benefit to the people of West Palm Beach and the redevelopment of their core downtown area are worth both the risk and cost.

    • Dee MNamara Says:

      Thank you for your deliciously humorous Green Acres
      picture! I know you did not mean it with malice since you are a better person than that.I felt like that at first, being an upscale evening dress designer, who did my fashion shows at most first class American stores with my designs, here and on the West Coast.

      You know Laurence is running for Mayor and has an excellent record of slefless achievments in favor of the City.In spite of petty envy based sewage spouting web sites.

      On the 4th of July please join us with Donna and all friends, in our 5th Annual Old Briidge Park Celebration with a picnic with Free everything, hamburgers, hotdogs, veggie burgers, kebabs, ice cold watermelon,water,sodas,fishing contest with prices, music, games for children with gifts all in shaded with umbrellas, seating and Walter Baker,chef at the barbecue , as I have no domestic qualities!Laurence and I host and give everything to all who come and are welcome. .Last year brought 750 people,families with many children,young beach goers without money,elderly, and Palm Beach neighbors, all at Laurence and my expense,veggie burgers from Jim McCauley,as a give back to Lake Worth for which we saved that Park from a speculators’ 86 condominiums. We do not have enough Parks, as the Town grows. Look at overdeveloped W.Palm by now 1000’s vacancy holding greedy speculators.

      In friendship, Dee.

    • Dee MNamara Says:

      Lois Frankel’s business is not mine.She ran on protesting a $54million new City Hall as outrageous,fiscally irresposible taxpayers’money spending, proposed by her opponent!! The results speak for them selves, so why add 2c.?
      Dee

  3. JPCK Says:

    I just checked out the new library this week – and it is awesome!


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