1. Very nice post.

    I live in a neighborhood of Evanston IL, a first ring suburb in a neighborhood of similar vintage. Running short of funds, the City announced several years ago that the library’s South Branch, located in a corner storefront of a three story mixed use building would close. Neighbors objected, then with Friends of the Library organized “The Might Twig,” a method of saving the books and materials and providing community meeting and shared space in privately rented space in another nearby storefront, for which funds were raised and staffed by volunteers. This also bought time to convince the City to restore funding, and in 2013, the Twig was restored to a “Branch” again, complete with computer facilities, the shared space has grown into a collaboratory/incubator which in turn has stimulated financial support for a much larger facility; the story is told in part by the Evanston Patch at . Libraries received stiff competition for several decades from Borders and Barnes and Noble, the latter too of which have long hours, no restrictions on serving food or co-locating amenities, and often more attractive spaces – I did a workshop for the Public Library Division of the American Library Association on this topic some years ago. The popup free libraries, this interim community based library solution, and other solutions that share reading and learning resources are essential components of livable communities.

    Scott Bernstein
    President, Center for Neighborhood Technology
    2125 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
    773 269 4035,,

  2. Kathleen Fox says

    Excellent post with many good avenues for place making exploration. A correction to the Churchill quote. He actually said “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” His intent was, I think, aligned with the meaning ascribed in Ms. Borys’ post. Churchill was referring to the manner in which the House of Commons, destroyed by enemy bombing during World War II, should be rebuilt. He advocated for rebuilding it in its original form, with too few seats to hold all the Members because the busy aisles would embody energy, vibrancy and sense of purpose during critical times and important votes.

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