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North Pinellas letters: Cafe enhances time at library

Re: A place to read, not to hang out | letter, March 13

Cafe enhances time at library

I won't comment on the letter writer's being old-fashioned, but it's a safe assumption that it's not the dictionary that's out of date.

My letter will hopefully make two points: why the library should indeed be a place to "hang out," and why a coffee shop (not vending machines) should be included inside the Clearwater Main Library.

Given choices of my son going anywhere, I'd rather him go to the library than any other hangout in town. Granted, I live closer to the East branch library than downtown, but he can easily read the books and magazines or go online at any branch. I visit the library frequently, and I encourage my son to do so, too.

Instead of looking up "library" in that dictionary, the letter writer should have looked up "hang out." My 1976 Collegiate edition has one definition that reads "a favorite or usual place of resort." Unfortunately, "hang out" is also defined as using time idly or loitering. However, it's called a "public" library for good reason; no one gets asked to leave for just hanging out. If I wish to spend hours at the library peacefully reading, writing or just enjoying the view, I will.

The second issue isn't complex either. If the library was built to include a cafe, and if there is a new owner willing to buy it, then let him/her buy it. If the cafe attracts someone like me, or others, to utilize the library, why close it permanently? If the business fails, is it costing the city anything? It's a private enterprise, and the City Council needs to stay out of the situation.

The cafe may need some extra help to be successful because of its location. It's possible to enter the library, check out books and leave without knowing the cafe exists. I believe more advertising, including the library's Web site, should be presentable without becoming an eyesore.

Speaking of eyesores, that's all vending machines would be. The decor, the views of the harbor and the library's solitude would all be wasted each time a soda falls down the chute, or someone gets angry when a machine fails. Now that is unthinkable!

Jac Couch, Clearwater

Re: A place to read, not to hang out | letter, March 13

Alternative would create problems

The letter writer should try visiting the lovely cafe at the Clearwater Main Library and take a good look around. The "wrong element of people" is sure not what I see there. Most of the people are families or people making use of the Internet connection there.

I think vending machines to replace the cafe would be a horrible idea. The library is absolutely awesome with a breathtaking view from the cafe. Let's give an opportunity to the man who wants to buy it.

With vending machines, who would handle all the problems that are sure to arise with people losing money, etc., not to mention the awful visual of vending machines?

It was stated in the St. Petersburg Times article ("Cafe inside library might be replaced with snack machines," March 1) that Vice Mayor John Doran said "if there's no hue and cry from the library patrons to keep it," then he doesn't expect it to stay. I feel that 100 people signing the first petition to keep the cafe open and now a second petition with more than 200 signatures show quite a "hue and cry."

Please, neighbors, let your feelings be heard on this. What could be a better place for our young people to "hang out" than our beautiful library with the cafe?

Jeanne Bukovich, Clearwater

Library board wants cafe to stay

The board of directors of the Friends of the Clearwater Library would like to register our displeasure with the concept of closing the cafe in the Main Library and replacing the food service with vending machines.

We, the board, have met with the library director to express our dissatisfaction with closing the cafe. We believe that the cafe adds an important ambience to the central core of the Main Library and are adamantly opposed to the presence of vending machines. We believe there will be more problems with vending machines than the inconvenience of the change in cafe ownership. Definitely no vending machines.

If the decision is to have no cafe, we strongly urge that there be nothing but open space. Definitely no vending machines.

Rita Garvey, president, Friends of the Clearwater Library

North Pinellas letters: Cafe enhances time at library 03/18/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 5:43pm]
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