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Speak Out: When Are Libraries Not Just Libraries?

In Montgomery County, libraries are central gathering places and signs of a thriving community. They can also be the center of controversy.


Libraries in Montgomery County are at the center of communities, and they are often high-tech places for learning, socializing and research.

Aging libraries are giving way to modern representations of communities committed to education and intellectual endeavor.

There's been a lot going on with library developments in the county.

The construction company —costing about $60 million—will be announced in fall 2012, according to Director of General Services David Dise.

Currently the library’s final designs are under permit review, a two-month process. While the documents are under review for approval the county is able to prequalify construction companies.

“A request for proposals is [issued] for proposals or applications from any contractor that’s interested in being considered to construct the project. This is the first stage of a two-stage selection process,” Dise said.

In Wheaton, Montgomery County’s Department of General Services for the new combination and .

The Department of General Services is eliminating the competition stage and going straight to one of the several architecture firms that has contractual arrangements with the county already, according to Rob Klein, who works for the county’s Wheaton Redevelopment Program.

But not everyone was happy that things are moving so quickly.

“I think this was a real missed opportunity,” said Larysa Kurylas, a member of the Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee. “That’s the kind of civic building that’s way more important than a Park and Planning office building,” she added.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will occupy part of the office building that will be constructed during the first stage of county-directed redevelopment in downtown Wheaton.

And, in Takoma Park, the library was at the center of a dispute over an issue seen as being at the heart of an important community commitment.

The Takoma Park City Council moved to allow a waiver Monday night of its Nuclear Free Zone Act so the Takoma Park Library could purchase Hewlett Packard computers.

Committee Member Julie Boddy thought the city had a duty to uphold the Nuclear Free Zone Act, which prohibits Takoma Park from doing business with companies that also produce nuclear arms.

"The city has a reputation to uphold as a nuclear free city," she said.

But Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams disagreed.

"The reputation we ought to uphold is that we have a viable ordinance," he said.

Which is your favorite Montgomery County library? Is it a community standby or a modern technological wonder? Let us know in comments.

AntonFisher June 28, 2012 at 05:09 PM
The plan is to develop the Library and the Rec. Center into one building expanding over both parcels of land. This seems to be the most beneficial use of resources. If the library is relocated to downtown Wheaton, then the Rec center will Have to be independently developed in its current location. The thought behind combining the library and the Rec center is to have an all inclusive destination where some common facilities are shared (Parking, rstrooms, cafeteria, Lobby, etc.) The lack of a signature destination in downtown Wheaton resulted from the County Council's striking down of the multi million dollar proposed plans by a private investor in favor of the MNCPP building. In the eyes of the County Council, MNCPP is a destination building that will occupy the most prominent location in downtown Wheaton.
Mike Smith June 28, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Maybe the Costco gas pumps can be downtown Wheaton's signature destination.
Commentous June 28, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Good idea! They should have a 24-pump station at the Triangle right next to the MNCPPC building to ensure that the new employees drive happy! Happy drivers=happy spenders, right?!
AntonFisher June 29, 2012 at 02:12 AM
I think the County Council would love these suggestions. That is how Navarro and company think.
AntonFisher June 29, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I think the County Council would love these suggestions. That is how Navarro and company think..


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