The library project is moving right along. As 2009 wraps up, the exterior of the building is nearly complete, and the interior is well underway. I don’t know the official schedule but from the looks of it I’d say to expect a Spring opening.
This summer the new conservative mayor, Dan Sullivan was sworn in. Predictably, he proposed massive cuts to social programs, and cut municipal subsidies of arts and cultural programs and institutions, including the municipal library system. There was a rumor that there would only be enough money to keep the new Mt. View branch open one day a week!
There’s been considerable discussion about how to improve that situation. The Anchorage Library Foundation, chaired by local writer and former Government Hill Community Council officer Charles Wohlforth, has been collecting donations and conducting studies to find out how local libraries are used. Some have pointed out that Anchorage under-funds its libraries, compared to similarly-sized U.S. cities even though the library remains a well-used, well-loved community asset.
A change in leadership of the municipal Assembly looks positive for both libraries and Mt. View. The new Assembly Chair is Patrick Flynn, Assemblymember representing Mt. View, Government Hill and Downtown. The Vice Chair is Mike Gutierrez, who was the Mt. View Weed and Seed Coordinatior before being elected to the Assembly. Both are good friends of Mt. View. One of Flynn’s first moves was to restore $50,000 in funding for the libraries that Sullivan had cut. Sullivan then line-item vetoed the appropriation, but Flynn managed to find the votes to override that action as well. I hope Flynn will cut the ribbon, when the Mt. View branch opens.