We’ll assume our Clinton readers are familiar with plans to use the former Harding Elementary School as the new Clinton Public Library. It’s been on the table for a couple of years now, and the Library Board has kept no secrets about its desire to see the project to completion.

Of course, nothing will happen without two very important elements — significant private donations or grants and a seven-figure, voter-approved bond to cover the difference. Those two factors beg a very obvious question. People may know about the Harding plan, but how much do they really know?

Did you know the plans call for effectively reversing the building, making the current back door the main entrance? Did you know that most of the current Harding building would be used for office and meeting space, and that an addition of around 20,000 square feet would hold most of the books and reading areas?

Do you know the cost comparisons for building an entirely new facility somewhere else — factoring in land acquisition? Do you know the cost comparisons for trying to salvage and expand the existing main library — again factoring in land acquisition and the knowledge that there’s no real land available?

Do you know what the Library Board has asked to be included in a new building? What the staff has identified as needs? What patrons have put on their wish list?

Many readers may have been paying close attention lo these many months. Many have not. Some, sadly, seem not to care at all. No matter which camp you fall into, we suggest taking some time tonight to head to the Ericksen Community Center, where the library board and an architect will be on hand to show off designs, explain the process and, most importantly, answer questions.

If there’s anything you want to know about the project, head straight to the source. This is the third such public information session this year for major city efforts, the first two conducted for a sewer separation project and the Liberty Square redevelopment effort. It is refreshing to see these city bodies provide direct access to citizens, to offer all they know to anyone who shows interest.

Will enough people take advantage of the opportunity? We certainly hope so, but there’s no way to predict that. We just know the city and its agents like the Library Board have met citizens halfway. They set up public meetings, give notice and stand ready, willing and able to provide as much information as possible. What more can we ask?

Whether you support the project or not, please take the time to get informed. Your opinion may not change — and that’s fine. But at least you’ll be able to argue your stance as the situation progresses. We believe an informed public will make the right decision, and tonight’s meeting is the best possible step in that direction.

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