I agree that the PO could make a nice library. The space issue could be a problem, though. The PO is significantly smaller than the existing Central Library: As said earlier in the thread, according to TAD the PO has 99,030 sq. ft. in the main building plus 19,122 sq. ft. that I assume is the warehousy thing behind it; it shows the Central Library weighing in at 172,759 sq. ft. I'm not saying it wouldn't work - as has been pointed out, the nature of libraries is evolving and it can be argued that this evolution may require less space; also, there is a lot of flexibility in how a library can be laid out - space between stacks, size of common areas, etc. I just wonder if it might not meet with quite a bit of resistance. You may have to really sell the money side.
Having the library closer to transit would certainly seem like a big plus. Is the parking also better at the PO than at the current central library?
My biggest concern with using it as a library - or as a city hall, for that matter - is that I just have this impression that the city does not have a consistent history of being a model steward of its historical assets. I hope I'm wrong, but that has been my impression. Would the maintenance and upkeep of that beautiful interior & exterior be too much for a city with perennial budget challenges?
The financial part is interesting. My first question is: do we know that the USPS would just give it to the city, or was that speculation? I don't think I'd ever heard that before. If TAD is to be believed, the market value of the current central library is about $15.5M and for the PO about $12.0M. Accurate? No idea. But to do a full analysis, we should also look at the potential for both if developed. Given their respective locations and development potential, how much tax is forfeited keeping either off the roles?
Whatever happens - public or private - I hope it is lovingly restored. I'm having trouble not sharing johnfwd's pessimism right now, though.
Getting back off-topic - both the Chelsea Station/Faneuil Hall use and the Tech Incubator use would be much better suited for the T&P Warehouse. It could house both. And possibly a data center. And a restaurant incubator (from another thread). And an awesome gym. And an interesting multi-family units. And a great roof-top bar with a grotto or something.