The James River Valley Library System took the first step toward a possible expansion when it retained a real estate agent to explore possible properties, according to Joe Rector, director of the library system.

"We have a continuing need to supply material and people spaces at the library," he said. "The library wants to stay apprised of the various spaces in Jamestown that may be available."

Rector said there is no plan to replace the Alfred Dickey Public library building which underwent a $700,000 update in 2019, the centennial of the building's construction.

Instead, the board is looking to explore possibilities of making an addition to the Alfred Dickey building or construct a new facility that would replace the Stutsman County Library and operate as a branch library, said Lynn Krueger, chairman of the Library System Board of Directors.

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"We're just starting to look around, trying to find stuff out and start looking," he said. "If it fits, we could expand Alfred Dickey as an option or a building to replace the Stutsman County Library."

Prior to 2008, two library systems operated in the community. Alfred Dickey Public Library was funded by a tax on Jamestown property. The Stutsman County Library was funded by a tax on property outside the city limits. A vote in the November 2008 general election authorized the combining of the two libraries under one board and management, although both facilities have been operated since.

In 2014, voters rejected a quarter-percent sales tax increase to fund an addition and renovation to the Alfred Dickey Library building.

Krueger said there is no timeline for any projects and no intention at this point of asking for a vote on a bond issue.

"This would signify to the people we're not just pipe dreaming the project," he said, referring to the possible purchase of land. "If property is purchased, it would be less cost to the project when it comes time to build."

Krueger said any plan that might come out of an expansion project will emphasize providing space for people.

"We're looking for people space, room for classes and meetings," he said. "... we had a request to supply a room for a reading club we had to turn down. The afterschool and summer classes are always crowded."

Rector said the library is attempting to save money for the possible project while the board explores possible locations.

"The library would have to have the consent of the Jamestown City Council and Stutsman County Commission to acquire property," he said.