Bobby Roberts meet David Johnson. Fayetteville library goes big | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bobby Roberts meet David Johnson. Fayetteville library goes big

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 2:22 PM

GROWTH PLANS: The Fayetteville library, only 10 years old, could double in size under a recently approved expansion plan.
  • GROWTH PLANS: The Fayetteville library, only 10 years old, could double in size under a recently approved expansion plan.

Good article in the Fayetteville Flyer 
about Fayetteville library expansion plans. Whether library director David Johnson has been influenced by Little Rock library empire builder Bobby Roberts or not, he thinks on an equally grand scale.

The Fayetteville library board has approved a $50 million expansion to double the size of the existing facility. 

Aside from adding room for more print and audiovisual materials, highlights of the project include a 750-seat multipurpose space that could be used as a community convention center or auditorium, and several public “maker spaces” stocked with 3D printers, video editing bays, and music recording studios

Financing plans are uncertain. A tax election in 2015 is a possibility. Board member Jim Blair, the retired Tyson Foods attorney and a major contributor to the library in the past, pushed for thinking big.

“At first blush, the numbers might scare you,” said Blair. “But I have witnessed a phenomenon that I think we need to get past, and that is every time we have done something…we have underbuilt.”

Blair pointed to the Walton Arts Center’s need for a new auditorium that’s double the size of Baum Walker Hall on Dickson Street.

“They wouldn’t need to build a new arts center in Benton County if we had built what we should’ve built from the beginning,” he said.

Thinking big. I like it. We need more Bobby Roberts and David Johnsons. Here in Little Rock, city government struggles to build a restroom at one of the city's most popular parks. And city "leaders" seriously consider putting a filling station and beer-and-Slim Jim outlet within 200 yards of a $70 million auditorium renovation.

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