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Main Library

Original post made by Economy Minded on Aug 20, 2012

The Main Library in Palo Alto will undergo a metamorphosis in the next few years when its rooms are renovated, a wing is added and the driveways around the Newell Road campus where it's located are redesigned. But there is another major change that the city is considering that wouldn't require bricks, mortar or expanded lanes: the library's name. Unlike the city's Downtown, College Terrace and Mitchell Park branches, the Main Library has a name that is fairly vague, somewhat bland and, geographically speaking, neutral. It implies that the branch is the city's largest, a suggestion that is false (the Mitchell Park library, which is undergoing a complete reconstruction right now, is the biggest branch and the most ambitious of the three library-renovation projects financed by a 2008 voter-approved bond). But what should the city call the library? That's the question that the Library Advisory Commission is scheduled to tackle at its April 23 meeting. Library Director Monique le Conge said the idea of renaming the Main Library came out of a joint meeting between the library commission and the City Council in January. "The idea is that we have several strong neighborhood libraries," le Conge said. "There really is no one central library."

Web Link posted Friday, August 17, 2012, 12:00 AM

Comments (3)

Posted by Economy Minded, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm

What a waste of money! The Weekly forgot to mention that this idea was discussed thoroughly in 2006 and dropped. 

Changing the name of Main Library will create endless confusion, not reduce it. The building has been called Main Library for over half a century. The Internet has tens of thousands of references to the Main Library. Those references won't go away, so there will be two conflicting names for the same building.

Plus, the city would have to pay for new signs and make changes to web pages, catalogs, library publications, maps, and more. 

Who knows what's next. Will they next want to rename College Terrace to University Terrace, because no one calls Stanford a "college" anymore? The Oregon Expressway doesn't exactly get you to Oregon. Jordan Middle School is quite far from the Middle East. Whatever field Middlefield was once in the middle of has long ago disappeared. East and West Meadow don't go near any meadow. Names created a long time ago have value in that they gently remind us of our history.

In the horse and buggy days you could change names and it wouldn't be a problem, but in the age of the internet changing a name without creating confusion is extremely difficult. Even the city is having great difficulty changing its own website. Don't even think about other peoples websites.

This is a make-work idea. Surely the staff has more important work to do?


Posted by Don't Change it, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

Please do not change the name of the main Library!


Posted by Cant understand it, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Could this be an attempt by Mitchell Park advocates to get their library renamed Main? Aren't they satisfied with the immense building they are getting? Maybe they envy the older part of town. It is hard to understand the push to rename. Clearly as has been stated, some people seem to have time on their hands.


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