After 66 years, we really need a new library space: one big enough and strong enough to provide the needs that libraries now respond to. Seventy years ago, when I was a kid in the library, all the library provided were books on shelves, librarians to check the books in and out, a special 'Reference' section of books, and tables where you could sit and read the reference books which couldn't be checked out. You could manage those needs for quite a few people in quite a small space.
Now, along with everything else that has been made different by the new electronic world, libraries need even more space for people to get access to all that information via computers, and you need more electricity to accommodate those computers. Those are the two biggest practical needs that a new library will provide us: space and electricity.
In addition, the library is increasingly a source for community programs of various sorts: not only little kids reading hour programs (which they've always provided), but bigger kids programs, and adult programs of various sorts (there's even a knitting group that meets at our library). As the schools are increasingly operating on tight budgets and reduced programs, libraries will be picking up some of those educational needs, but not without enough space to have more than two or three people at a time in a group. (Take three friends to our children's library and ask yourself what you could do in that tight a space for more than a few minutes, for example.)
The Julius Firehall, right next door to the Community Center, is the site of the proposed new library. It is just as convenient as the current library, but with a meeting room, lots of electricity, places to sit in the library proper with your own computer using the Library's wi-fi, more actual computers for us to use in the library. There are schematic drawings in the current library that show you how this all will work. It will certainly be an aesthetic improvement in every way.
The cost of renovating the building will be somewhere in the area of a half million dollars. It is possible that we can get some substantial part of that from government or from foundations. But to get that support, it is absolutely necessary that the community itself show substantial support by donating to the project.
We're just beginning that process, but we already have a lot of projects going and some money coming in. Next post, I'll tell you more about both those things. For now, you will find information about how to donate on the upper right column on this blog. And, if you want to join the fund-raising committee (we definitely need more help), write me (judywross at ross-park.net).