When Frank Lloyd Wright designed a home, he was very intentional about the placement of the front door. Wright believed the home was private, and to protect that privacy, the front door was often placed off to the side, hidden by walls, or even put in the backyard.
This almost seems like the philosophy behind the design of our Library, despite it's very public purpose. When approaching on foot, many areas look like they could (or should) be an entrance, but alas, the front door is only revealed in an obvious way when arriving by car.
If someone is on foot and traveling from the east (as half our population might) there are a couple of route options. They involve a hike up a hill and possibly some stairs, or both. This is not an ideal scenario for many segments of our population.
Let's consider Elaine's path to the library.
Elaine lives at Riverrain. As the crow flies, it is 1,658 feet or .3 miles away from the Library. The drive, according to Google, is .6 miles.
Elaine is active, and with the help of her walker, is apt to buzz around town on foot. The library, however, is a challenge for her. The most direct route involves two sets of stairs. There is a ramp from Wilson, but it only goes to the garden in the back. Then, the options are a set of stairs, or to walk through the parking lot and around the bend (without the security of dedicated pedestrian paths.)
Therefore, the best option for many is to head all the way up Wilson, down the busy stretch of Route 31, and back toward the front door. But that is too much for some people. Elaine usually gets a ride to the library (she doesn't drive herself.) One of our most community oriented public spaces is not accessible to some who lives less than half a mile away, unless a car can be used.
A crow gets there in .3 miles. A fully able body person, .6 (with stairs).
The additional .3 miles may sound insignificant. If it does, you are probably an able bodied person (or a crow.)
Perhaps there are simple solutions. A back door would eliminate the need for stairs. A side door would make the library look inviting from Wilson Street (where most of our downtown travelers end up). The doors exist, but only as emergency exits right now.