The Aspen Daily News is featuring a daily question to candidates running for office in the May 3 election.
1. Do you think Pitkin County library needs to be expanded by 9,400 square feet at a cost of $10 million?
2. Bonus question: What was the last thing you used the library for?
1. No. I think the building should first look to reconfigure its existing space. While I am a big reader, most libraries are getting out of the “book business,” and moving toward offering expanded technology. The next step is to decide how much money is needed for technology expansions over the next 10 years. The irony is the new footage takes advantage of the views, but computer use requires darker spaces.
2. Reserved the book, “Strategic Moves” by Stuart Woods.
1. I have yet to be convinced that we need the space, at least not during these challenging times. Fairness requires that we all withhold judgment until the facts are on the table.
2. My last library action was to renew two books I am reading to young people.
1. The library is in a great location and is used by visitors and locals alike. I have never seen the library over loaded or crowded. I believe it is adequate for current usage. I also think that if we are ever going to add on it would be either now or wait until the next downturn. The time for municipal construction is during times when the building trades need work. Markets are cyclical. I would like to see government construction projects built during the slow times. This is one way we can stagger the cranes and construction traffic, dust and all of the other inconveniences.
2. I used to attend P&Z meetings when there was scheduling issues with the Sister’s City Room.
1. I would not support the expansion of the library as it would send the wrong message of excess government spending during a slow economy. I would consider it if the economy stabilized and the library showed an increase in demand or a need for a better integration with other public buildings involved with the Civic Master Plan.
2. Declined to answer bonus questions.
1. They have their own funds for the expansion, but I am concerned that all the additional square footage can’t be justified.
2. AACP meetings
1. The library needs to keep up with changing times and needs, and I encourage everyone to go on the library website www.pitcolib.org  to see the comments from the public sessions and the proposed plans which include a meeting room that could be used outside of library hours with outside entrances. The plans and budgets are still in the works and when the library decides to bring it forward it will go to a full public vote at that time. The library has always operated in a financially sound manner and I believe they will continue to do so in the future.
2. I visit the library with my 4-year-old nephew. He loves to get new books and bring them home to read and play with their puzzles.
1. The city attorney has cautioned candidates when commenting on possible projects that might come before council. I will make the following general statements though: First, it is impossible to have a great community without a great library. Second, every development project — new or remodel, and regardless of use (commercial, non-profit or civic) — needs to respect the small, mountain town character that keeps Aspen unique. Third, a proper and full land-use review process is imperative for all projects. The library deserves to have the chance to “make its case” for the expansion.
2. I was just at the library today checking out a bunch of books with my kids. We are there one to two times a week.
1. “Needs?” No. Like? Yes. I haven’t studied this enough to know if this passes the cost/benefit analysis for me personally, but I will say it looks like a great design and it will definitely make our community better. I believe in 21st century libraries and am inclined to be in favor.
2. My family has always loved the children’s section. A trip to the library is a treat for our kids and provides an experience that goes far beyond picking books. For a kid it is a trip into the heart of the community, a gathering place, a place for fun and to meet friends, a place to meet the community and find a place in it. It is a place to revere learning, while reveling in Aspen. We love it.
1. The library is a true community gathering place and needs to evolve with the times. The appropriate size and cost will be determined through the process.
2. Research materials for a CMC class I’ll be teaching early this summer.