To the Editor:
My recent visit to the Saint Agnes Library re-opening stirred the muse in me. The renovation has melded the traditional building that benefactor Andrew Carnegie envisioned with 21st-century technology he never dreamed of. It is brighter and cheerier than its former self, with little evidence of a facelift. New books replaced dog-eared editions (apparently, 80 percent of the collection had to be replaced). The children’s library now occupies the first floor. The tenor is that of the second floor of Barnes & Noble, with frenzied parents and children.
The new, light-filled second floor adult and young adult collection seems a bit “cramped” by the important inclusion of computers. Accessing shelved fiction puts you in close contact with those surfing the web. The wall on the first floor proclaims “IMAGINE.” The phrase, made famous by a West Sider, was a prayer for peace.
The library should be an island of quiet respite in a frenetic city. Librarians should not be placed in the position of being hall monitors perpetually using the “shhh” word. Instead, patrons should respect each other. So please shut off that cell phone and rein in the urge to use your “outside voice.” It is easy if you try.
John C. Jeannopoulos
Upper West Side
Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.
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