Proponents of new library keep working after setbackDespite a ruling denying a request to purchase a site, proponents of a new library say they continue to pursue their cause. The James River Valley Library System had requested approval to purchase the Essentia (former Innovis) site for $690,000 pending fundraising or a tax vote in the future. The Jamestown City Council denied the request in a unanimous vote at its regular meeting April 4.
By: By Katie Ryan-Anderson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Despite a ruling denying a request to purchase a site, proponents of a new library say they continue to pursue their cause.
The James River Valley Library System had requested approval to purchase the Essentia (former Innovis) site for $690,000 pending fundraising or a tax vote in the future. The Jamestown City Council denied the request in a unanimous vote at its regular meeting April 4.
“The meeting was sort of a disappointment, but we can’t disagree with the City Council,” said Jim Nyland.
Nyland, vice chair of the James River Library System Board, said he and other members of the board plan to raise funds. Their goal is $4 million. The cost of a new library is estimated at $7 million.
In the current library, electrical outlets lay on the floor, books pile in corners and the meeting space for children’s programs is inadequate for demand. Plus, computers, wireless Internet and technologies of the future are impossible in the building that was constructed in 1919, Nyland said.
“The building maxed out 10 years ago,” he said.
And in addition to the building’s limitations are its inefficiencies.
The elevator has needed replacing (a $30,000 cost) for years, said Daphne Drewello, James River Valley Library System library director. Old fixtures, windows and heating and air conditioning systems contribute to high energy costs. The multi-level building requires staff on each floor (the new library design has everything on one level).
And officials say the current building’s layout makes it easy for people to steal library materials.
“The issues with the library go across the board,” Nyland said.
The new library’s design includes a meeting room big enough for 100 people, tutoring rooms, parking and green space. It would allow more space for computers. Now, patrons join a waiting list about three or four people long before they have access, Gibson said.
But while the current library facility isn’t considered state-of-the art, the community still has one, some argue.
The city has other financial needs that are more of a priority, said Mayor Katie Andersen. Some of those needs include city infrastructure, including the sanitary and storm sewer systems. Plus, public funding for the library is already high compared to other cities, she said.
In 2010 the library's income from city and county was $585,566 The library's total income from all sources was $645,292. The library receives some money from the state and some donations, but the majority of its budget comes from taxpayer dollars, said Brenda Gibson, children’s librarian.
In Dickinson, N.D., the library’s budget is about $705,000, said Renee Paasch, director. The library there receives 8.35 mills for a total of about $323,000 per year from the city of Dickinson. It also receives about $150,000 per year from Stark, Billings and Slope counties. Dickinson’s library also serves the Billings County school district, accounting for $46,000. The remaining funds come from Dickinson’s two satellite libraries, federal grants, state aid and private donations.
Like Jamestown, the majority of Dickinson’s budget is public money. The same is true for Wahpeton, N.D.
The Leach Library there operates on a budget of about $263,000 per year, said Director Bonnie MacIver. About $244,000 of it comes from the city of Wahpeton, $10,000 comes from county funds and the rest of its funding comes from state funds, grants and private donations.
As for fundraising, the James River Library System board doesn’t have a timeline yet, Nyland said. Already, the group brainstormed ideas and plans a capital campaign and other events. The City Council’s denial may have slowed the process down, but the group has yet to give up.
“This is a full court press. ...” Nyland said. “We’re looking at all opportunities.”
Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org