The idea that libraries can serve as anchors for neighborhood commercial corridors and downtown districts is not a new one. In our work, we often come across examples of libraries that are a critical piece of overall tenant mix. They serve as corridor destination drivers, spurring revitalization through activities and offerings that bring people to an area.
Although not a low-income community, one such example we have come across in our work is the New Rochelle Public Library in Westchester County, NY. Located in the heart of the traditional downtown district, the library is an anchor for the business district, as well as the large public park that abuts it to the rear (not unlike Bryant Park in New York which abuts the New York Public Library. A self described “community resource”, the library is well loved, and well patronized by the City’s 72,000 residents. One five-star review on Yelp sums up the library perfectly: “What a great community center! I teach there, I research there, go to great music and cultural events at Ossie Davis theatre. It’s so much more than a place to get books and videos. I observe it as a vital resource for people of all ages. And it is well run. Altogether a great neighborhood venue.”
|The New Rochelle Public Library, which can be seen in the
background on the right side of the street, is a major cultural
anchor in downtown New Rochelle, NY.