In the last few months we have learned a lot about what it takes to build a new library. First it takes a need. In 2008, Jamestown and Stutsman County voters realized the need for a new library and 72.5% said yes to combining the Alfred Dickey Library and the Stutsman County Library. That’s 6,672 yes’s out of 9,341 votes, overwhelming by any definition. The voters realized that having two boards, two systems, two buildings, to serve the 21,000 residents of Jamestown and Stutsman County, was inefficient.
The time since the vote, although very long and disappointing to many, has one benefit. It has given the library board and administration time to react to significant changes in the library and purlishing worlds. The interior design of the new library incorporates what has been learned from the new Fargo library and multiple other new libraries that have opened or been planned in the last five years. The publishing world, the retail book world, are changing daily. All of which point up the importance of flexibilty in the new library. None of which exists in the current buildings.
Alfred Dickey, although a beautiful 1919 structure, is outdated, needs repairs, and can not be retrofitted to meet the education, information, and recreation needs of the community. No matter what is done to the building, there would still be two levels, inefficient and unacceptable, not enough electrical outlets for today’s devices, unacceptable, no parking, unacceptable, and the most unacceptable, totally unable to react to changes in the publishing and reading world.
The Bookmobile is a vital provider of information and educational materials to Jamestown and the county. It’s monthly visits to 25 locations, that have no access to the library, is essential for the kids, parents and teachers. The new library will provide a much needed drive through garage and appropriate staging.
The library of tomorrow needs to have multiple public meeting spaces for reading, studying, doing research, group discussions. It needs universal electrical access for computers, pads, smart phones. It needs the ability to change inside as the degree of e-access increases. There will always be a need for traditional media, printed stuff. The question is what is the balance between e and print.
The library is an essential part of the Information, Education, and Recreation infrastructure of Jamestown and Stutsman County.
The voters recognize the need for a new consolidated library to serve the residents of Jamestown and Stutsman County.
The current buildings cannot be retrofitted to fit the needs of the community.
The interior design of the new library has been updated to reflects changes in the library, publishng and electronic worlds.
W e are ready. Well, not quite.
We still need to go the voters, all the voters of Stutsman County, to get the final approval on the funding and building of this much needed new library.
Just as researching, planning, and fine-tuning, the library itself is a multi-layered and complicated process, so is the process to put an initative to fund the construction of the new library on the ballot.
That process will be described in our next blog.
For more details on the new library progress, click on this link: Capital Campaign Facts
For more details about the current libraries, click on this link: Today’s Libraries