Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Open Forums on Expansion Planning

Tonight at 7pm will be the second of four Open Forums to discuss the Library's expansion plan revision process. What direction do you, our residents, want to see the Library take? Are you ready for the plan to be revised now, to consider a 2012 or 2013 referendum? Or wait and spend money on replacing major systems in an undersized building? Those are the key questions to be answered through this process.

The Open Forum session start with a presentation about the library's history and the use of the library today. A few key points from that presentation:
  • Library services have changed drastically since this building was designed. Public computers and Internet access are now core library services.
  • No one predicted, or could plan for, the unprecedented growth in the library district and the impact of the fundamental change in library services experienced at the same time.
  • Library use increased more than just what can be accounted for by the change in population, not only by more than double the population increase for check outs, but also by over a thousand percent in reference questions answered, PC use and program attendance.
Today, the building is less than half the size it should be to serve our population according to state and national library standards. It also needs some major work to replace aging HVAC, windows, carpet etc. If the community wants to address the space needs in the next 2-3 years, then the building issues can be fixed short term to make it through to an expansion. If the community does not want to address the space needs in the next few years, more extensive and expensive replacement of systems must be done. The more money spent on maintaining the building, the less money there is to keep up with that skyrocketing demand for service. Where do you want your investment in library services to go?

Open Forums are tonight, Tuesday 9/13 at 7pm, Thursday 9/15 at 11am and Monday 9/19 at 7pm in the Large Meeting Room.

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