A conversation with Jennifer Power

Jennifer Power is the president of Capitol Hill Community Council. She sat down with us at a coffee shop on Capitol Hill and talked about how she uses the library, how it contributes to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and what libraries may be like in the future:

jen power“I use the Capitol Hill library a little bit. I live really close to a used bookstore so I need to make an effort to go down to the library. But I’m there once or twice a month for community meetings- it’s the only free meeting space. Oh Lord, do we need that meeting room. We’re short on meeting space up here; we don’t really have a community center. You can go to coffee shops but you have to buy something in order to spend time there. The library is free, which is amazing because Seattle is so expensive, and it’s not like the problem of finding free gathering space is going to get any better. It’s kind of weird (socially unjust) if you have to pay for things all the time just to have a place to meet your neighbors.”

“On Capitol Hill we have lots of anchors, organizations that anchor the neighborhood. But community groups often meet at the library and classes are also occasionally offered there, like through Seattle Free School. So I guess it’s kind of like the anchor of the anchors. It’s also an information space and, more and more, it’s a learning space.”

CAP“I like the renovation at Capitol Hill library – they have window seats and vines growing everywhere!  It’s nice there. It’s a good place for people to spend time. It’s a human place. If you have a city then you have to have density. If you have density then people need a place to hang out together. Parks are good, but libraries are quieter.”

“The library needs to continue to operate as a community center and a learning center to stay relevant. Libraries are still relevant but they need to change.  They need to bring people into gateways for information, particularly academic gateways. It would be amazing if libraries would play the role of bringing together all the arcane information that isn’t digitized yet. They also need to ally with community groups. The more we give libraries a free hand to collaborate with the community the better.”

For more of  Jennifer’s ideas about life see her blog.


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