My local library has found itself in the crosshairs of a controversy. The news has reported on it, people have written letters to the editor against it, Board of Trustees members have discussed this issue, and local businesses have gotten involved. It asks the very important question:
Should our library have a fireplace?
The library was built a few years ago. It’s still quite new, and was designed with some environmental consideration, especially passive solar design on the south facing walls for heating during the cooler months. After it was built, some people noticed there wasn’t a fireplace in the library. And that was a cause for concern because all the other libraries in the other nearby towns have fireplaces in their libraries. So the Board of Trustees discussed it, and initially decided against the fireplace. It would have to be natural gas, a lot of people are against that, special pipes would have to be installed, not to mention the cost of natural gas that you don’t have when using passive solar heat from windows. So it would seem the issue was decided.
But then, a local fireplace company donated a gas fireplace in honor of a long-time librarian who’s currently battling cancer.* So suddenly, the library had a free fireplace. But the debate raged about using natural gas. You can read about the controversy here. I’d link to Letters to the Editor about it, but the Sopris Sun doesn’t update their Letters to the Editor section.
I arrived at the library today and the fireplace is where the periodicals used to be. It is sitting against a wall with no hookups at all—nothing for the gas, nothing for venting. In fact, it’s just a regular wall (you know, the tall, straightish kind. Mostly brick.). Someone was in here looking at it, taking pictures, but not actually taking measurements despite having a measuring tape on his belt. He then went outside and was checking out the exterior part of the wall. I can only assume he was trying to figure out, on a scale of 1 to Hodor, how easy or hard it would be to install hookups for a gas fireplace.
The wall also happens to be perpendicular to the south-facing windows that provide a source of heat during cooling months. The fireplace is basically on the south side of the building, 7 feet from the windows that allow the building to warm passively during the winter months through solar heat. They have placed it in the area of the library that gets the warmest during winter months.
Here is a picture*** of the highly controversial fireplace:
*His name is nowhere on it to indicate it was donated in his honor. Also, he’s battling cancer; he hasn’t died from it.
**Some lady just walked in, came to the area I’m in, gestured towards the fireplace, and snorted in derision. I rolled my eyes, and she said “They always get what they want.” I don’t know what it is they wanted, or who they are, but I can’t disagree and say she’s wrong, per se…?
***Two MORE ladies came in to look at and talk about the controversial fireplace.
***It appears there was a receipt left on it. Or invoice of some sort. Who gives a gift with the price tag still on it?