That the achievements of today are but the materialized dreams of the visionaries of yesterday is the expressed belief of those forward-looking citizens who are now discussing the possibilities of replacing the antiquated and outgrown Wilmette public library building with a new and imposing structure that will be in keeping with present day requirements.
Built in 1904, the old building, say those who favor the erection of a new one, undoubtedly met the needs of that day, and compared favorably with other public buildings. But times have changed, they assert, and what was suitable then may be entirely obsolete now. The consensus appears to be contained in the one word, "outgrown." The point stressed is that when the present building was erected the village had a population of about 2,000, while today it numbers some 16,000, and that in all these past thirty years no space has been added to accomodate an ever-increasing patronage and a constantly enlarging number of books that such patronage required. The result is, say observers, that the facilities of the library are so restricted that its officials are unable to render the full measure of service to which the community is entitled and which they are more than anxious to give.
In an effort to secure an accurate cross-section of the views of citizens active in the civic life of the village, Wilmette Life during the past week interviewed teh leaders of several organizations, and for the information of its readers presents the following symposium which contains specific and definite reasons why in their opinions the proposed project should be undertaken at once.
George H. Redding, 1516 Elmwood avenue, president of the Wilmette Civic league, said: "When this matter was first brought to my attention I thought that here is a real proposition that should engage the immediate attention of Wilmette citizens. I heartily favor a new library building, and efforts in that direction will have my full support. We all know that the present building is entirely inadequate and that larger quarters are badly needed. It is a splendid idea, and should be pushed with vigor. If there were possible to work this out in connection with a community center it would be one of the greatest forward steps the village could take. It should at least contain an auditorium of sufficient size to accomodate community gatherings. By all means let us go ahead."
Public Works Project?
C. P. [Carbon Petroleum] Dubbs, 1004 Michigan avenue, president of the Village board, expressed his approval of the plan in these words: "My ideas on economy are well known, and I am mortally afraid of debt, there fore I would say that if teh present building will meet the needs of library patrons for the next ten years, it would not be advisable to undertake a new building. On the other hand, if the old building is already outgrown, now is certainly the time to replace it. Such a prjoect will fit in with the federal government's public works program and will afford work for local labor. By all means go ahead not if more room is needed."
Mrs. George H. Beaudin, 726 Elmwood avenue, president of the Catholic Parent-Teacher association, expressed her approval and added:
"The library is very much overcrowded, and additional room is certainly needed. I heartily favor the project of a new building if it can be secured under the federal public works program without adding greatly to taxes. An opportunity should be given the citizens to register their opinions before definite steps are taken."
than a year ago." she said, "which denotes a decided optimism as to the future. The erection of anew library building would be of great help to many of our people who need work, and the necessity for a larger building to house the library is apparent. A great many people use the library, and they are entitled to modern facilities. I certainly favor the plan to provide them."
Henry E. Cutler, 407 Central Avenue, president of the Wilmette board of education, pledged his support in these words: "You can say for me that I am for this project 100 percent, and that anything I can do to promote it will be gladly done. I am aware of the needs of the public in the way of library accomodations and will join most heartily in any efforts to procure them. When my assistance is required just say the word. There are ways in which I may be especially helpful, and I would be happy to render such service to the village."
In expressing her views on the subject Mrs. John D. Kinnear, 2241 Chestnut avenue, president of the Logan-Howard Parent-Teacher association, revealed a broad knowledge of library needs s well as past improvements in the village. She said:
Failed to Keep Pace
"The library building is the only public structure that has not kept pace with the growth of the village. Our schools have been added to or new ones erected to take care of constantly increasing numbers of students. Churches have been rebuilt to accomodate growing congregations. The Masonic order built a beautiful tlemple to meet its needs. The Village hall has been enlarged because of increasing demands for public service. Only the library has lagged behind the parade of progress that has marked the years since it was built. Population has grown from 2,000 to 16,000, and the demands on the library have also grown. In its cramped quarters, with limited facilities adn antiquated equipment, it now represents that which was modern and sufficient thirty years ago.
"I am whole-heartedly in favor of the project and think it should be undertaken now while government financial aid is available. It will be a help to the unemployed of our village, and the public works policy makes it possible to build now to advantage."