Monday, February 23, 2009


 “Chapter 2 – Branch libraries: The heartbeat of the community.” In Better together: Restoring the American community (pp. 34-54). 

What were some special or innovative features of Chicago's Near North Branch Library? 

This library is physically appealing to the eye, encompassed with shrubs and flowers on the outside and with a large parking lot. It has meeting rooms available for classes, discussions, and neighborhood groups. They have an after school volunteer program called the Homework Help program, and the meeting rooms are used for finance workshops, job skills classes, teachers' in-service training, and more. Internet is accessible here and high school and college age "cybernavigators" teach basic computer and Web-search techniques

What were two goals local politicians and community leaders hoped to accomplish with its construction? The mayor hoped that locating Near North on the border between a run-down neighborhood and an affluent neighborhood would encourage improvements in the run-down neighborhood and bring together residents of the two neighborhoods who had no contact with each other otherwise. This library successfully bridge the two neighborhoods.  

How did location play a role in the creation of the library? 

The Near North Branch sits between two very different neighborhoods. One side is along the shore of Lake Michigan, which is wealthy and mainly white. The other neighborhood is known for its grim, high-rise public housing and crime. The location for The Near North Branch was not an accident, the building and everything inside of it all reflect the determination to make the library attractive to the whole range of potential users. The Mayer refers to the neighborhood library as the "heartbeat" of the community. The site of the library is in the run-down neighborhood, however, constructors hoped it would be close enough to the affluent neighborhood that it would still appeal to its residents. Despite its location, residents from both sides of the community soon partook in the libraries services, due to its aura of safety and appeal. 

These answers can be found on pages 2-4

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