The following response is based on a letter to the editor in the Times Weekly, posing nine questions about the Library’s proposed expansion. The text in red is the unedited letter as found here: http://thetimesweekly.com/news/2016/mar/02/new-plainfield-library-yes-or-no/ The text in black is answers to questions, clarifications and context.
1) Has the Plainfield School District ever been contacted to avoid a duplication of services? Would it not be possible for one taxing body to work along with another taxing body to provide a common library service, instructors, meeting areas, share equipment and parking during the entire year.
The Library supports early literacy development before children are of school age, extends learning beyond the school day and helps hold kids at grade level over the summer when school is not in session: http://plainfieldlibrarydirector.blogspot.com/2016/03/14-critical-public-library-services.html
2) What are the actual recorded numbers of citizens (adults & children) using the current facility, busiest months, days and time during the day?
Here is the summary of use in FY2015: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/pdf/board/2015%20Annual%20Report%20Summary.pdf and the Citizens Information Center where the Board packets, including monthly statistics, are posted regularly: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/citizens-information-center.aspx What cannot be quantified is how many don’t bother to come because they know there will be nowhere to study quietly, how many didn’t get to register for the program because it was full and how many use neighboring library’s facilities because their own does not meet their needs.
3) Why was this particular very confined location chosen where future expansion is limited?
Question #2 on the FAQ page has your answer: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/building-expansion-faq.aspx
"The current site is located very near the geographic center of the Library District. The Library Board of Trustees decided early in the planning process to pursue only single site options due to the cost of operating two facilities. An alternate site was considered. Public meetings and online surveys showed overwhelming support for the Library to remain at its current location. Reasons cited by participants in public meetings included its being an anchor to the downtown and convenience of access. See http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/pdf/15_0611_PPL%20Public%20Presentation.pdf "
4) When was the decision made to build new rather than add to and remodel?
At the July 2015 Library Board Meeting, which was open to the public in addition to the two public planning meetings that month. Scroll down to the section Summary of Feedback Presentation - July Board Meeting on the Building and Expansion Planning web page: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/building-expansion-planning.aspx
5) What are the results of the traffic study (current & projected), parking spaces available for employees, visitors, maintenance staff, groups (seniors) arriving by bus and ease of entry for emergency vehicles?
There was not a traffic study per se, but concerns about the safety of access, inclusion of a service drive, the ability to circumnavigate the parking without going onto Route 59 are referenced throughout the public meeting summaries. In particular, Renovation Concept 3 in the July presentation shows these concerns in relation to new construction vs. adding on. http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/pdf/2015-07-15%20Board%20meeting%20presentation%20and%20summary.pdf
6) Will area contractors be considered to bid on this project?
Final design and specifications will not begin until after a successful referendum and a delivery method (construction management, general contractor) has not yet been determined by the Board of Trustees. The Library Board of Trustees is bound by state law in the procurement of construction services and many area contractors may qualify.
7) Upon completion how many additional good full time jobs will this project create for the people of Plainfield?
We're estimating 5-6 full time positions and additional part time positions. The final determination of hiring needs will depend on many factors including qualified applicants from within, changes to existing positions, final design and services to be added. For example, if the digital media lab is a separate room from the public use computers area, it will be staffed differently than if the two areas are contiguous and open to one another. Again, final design begins after a successful referendum.
8) The size of this building may require larger special fire fighting equipment to reach the higher areas of this building?
We do not anticipate the need to specialized firefighting equipment, but I will defer to the Plainfield Fire Protection District on this.
9) Which leads to new facilities to house larger fire fighting equipment and additional training for our fire fighters?
The Plainfield Fire Protection District will be responsible for the training and equipping of their personnel. I can say that the Library will not be the largest building in their service area, nor the one with the greatest fire hazards.
It is understood some library users have experienced a slight over crowding, intense back ground noise and the lack of use of a free computer. It is true some popular activities for children may require you to deliver your child early.
One study room that holds four people maximum and 75,337 people to serve. Shelving through the entire upper level that is over 7 feet tall, with highest and lowest shelves used. You could call it slight overcrowding. https://scontent.ford1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpl1/t31.0-8/12792359_10154171589597448_3701209857617931892_o.jpg
However, it seems a small price to pay for the hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year people have saved by using this antiquated library.
For every dollar invested in the Library, the community receives $6 in services: http://plainfieldlibrarydirector.blogspot.com/2016/03/roi-for-library-tax-dollars-shows-value.html For the average homeowner, the cost increase would be less than $180 per year.
Shouldn't 'We the People' be better informed before we are asked vote YES or NO.
The Plainfield Public Library District’s web site has answers to your questions on the Building and Expansion Planning web page to help you make an informed decision: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/building-expansion-planning.aspx