I made a short comment in my previous post about the design of the ImaginOn building, asking what people thought. (Architects, here's your chance.) One reply, from "Rebecca":
"IMAGINON is GHASTLY. The ugliest building I have ever seen. it makes me ashamed every time I pass it. It looks like something my kids built in the woods out of scraps of castoff crap they found laying around. ICKY.”
Several comments complained about what they thought was ineffective use of tax money on the buildings. Others defended the building’s use – as a children’s library and the new home of the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.
Here’s my take: I love libraries. And the Children’s Theatre is a gem of a resource for the city. We’re lucky to have it, lucky enough theater folks are willing to work there for what I’m pretty sure aren’t great salaries. Our daughter has taken classes at the CT and loved it, so I’m happy that worthy organization has much better, larger and better-equipped space.
I mourn the loss of the old building on Morehead because its walls oozed memories and history. The stairwell wall from the dressing rooms up to the stage was layer upon layer of signatures of Children’s Theatre participants from over the decades. The history had seeped into the bones of the building and was palpable for even the youngest users, and I’m sad that all those memories were just turned into rubble in one day.
BUT – you knew a “but” was coming, right? – it’s dumb to segregate “children’s books” from the main library in a whole other building. That just further isolates young people from larger society. Kids need more places where they’re integrated with, and interacting with, people of all ages from the elderly on down.
In addition, it’s user-unfriendly for two rather large groups: 1. Adults who want to browse and check out books WHILE they take children to the library. Why make them trudge between two buildings several blocks apart? 2. Kids aged about 8-15 who are good readers and move back and forth between “children’s books” and “young adult books” and “adult books.” We should all be encouraging more kids to read more advanced literature if they’re interested, not putting obstacles in their way.
And I confess, I think the building is junky looking. I'm afraid that in 10 years it will look dated, and in 25 years will even be shabby. Our 14-year-old loves it, however. So who’s right? Let the debate begin.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Posted by Mary Newsom at 12:07 PM