Woodstock Library continues public forums on its physical future

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

General suggestions from groups varied widely in some ways, as Woodstock Library officials sought another round of public input before Master Plan architects present a series of concepts for expansion ranging in scale and price.

Members of one group at a second forum September 29 seeking citizen input wanted nothing that was considered modern, wanting the library to keep the same look and feel, but just provide more space. Another group wanted just the opposite with modern aesthetics, large windows and lots of light.

Martin Nystrom, a member of the Facilities Task Force, a panel that recommended an update to the Master Plan to address the library’s space and infrastructure needs, suggested reversing the current layout, providing a reading room with views of the revered front lawn for inspiration. To accommodate this, the entrance could be moved to the rear, he said.


For those who weren’t at the forum held by the architecture and planning firm ADG Cohn earlier in the month, the September 29 meeting was a repeat, though abbreviated version featuring a photo slideshow of deficient areas — a cramped front, narrow aisles between shelves, lack of power outlets for laptops, water in the basement, etc. — and audience participation. This time, Library Director Janet Dymond moderated instead of ADG Cohn Library Planner Alex Cohen.

In an exercise called “dotmocracy,” participants placed colored dots on photos of library rooms they liked. Green was the first choice, yellow for second and blue for third for categories such as collaborative areas, quiet spaces and meeting rooms.

Like the first meeting, each table was its own discussion group, with a library trustee reporting findings back to Dymond.

One group reported a flaw in the exercise they hoped would not send architects off track.

People may have placed a green dot on a photo because they liked one part of it, but it may be misconstrued as supporting that design. For example, Jerry Washington said he picked a photo of a meeting room because he liked the small space and screen for presentations, but didn’t like the floor-to-ceiling glass. Many of the pictures used as examples for the exercise were thought of as “too grand” for a small-town library. Washington was also a member of the Facilities Task Force.


Youth input

Some suggested getting more of the town’s youth population involved, something Library board Vice President Dorothea Marcus is in the works. The Youth Center will solicit input and may include a small version of the “dotmocracy.”

The forums were not the only means of public input. Throughout the summer, the library brought in groups of people for visual scans where they were led through the property and asked to grade each area.

People’s comments will be forwarded along with the “dotmocracy” results to address concerns about misinterpretation. The public meetings and visual scans are a response to the last attempts at expansions, which were roundly criticized for a lack of transparency.

ADG Cohn is expected to present their concepts later this month at a public meeting where people can again provide their input and suggestions, Dymond said.