More surveys ahead for Arlington library

By BRIAN KELLY

Herald Writer

ARLINGTON — With a split decision at the ballot box in September, supporters of a new library in town are planning to survey the community before making their next move.

"We’re still very excited about the possibility; we still have a dream of a new library for Arlington," said Maggie Buckholz, managing librarian.

"We’re going to continue to forge ahead and work with our community," she said. "We want it to be something that the community not only buys into, but something they can be proud of and will use."

In September, voters approved creating a library capital facility area using the Arlington School District boundaries east of I-5 and north of 164th Street NE. But they rejected a measure to give the newly created district the authority to issue $7.6 million in bonds to pay for construction of a new library.

Supporters are making a survey they will use to refine the vision for a library. The survey work may start in the spring, Buckholz said.

Library lovers speak highly of the existing building. But with an influx of new residents, Arlington has outgrown the little library on N. Washington Avenue.

Besides not enough computers or quiet study areas, the library is maxed out when special programs are held.

"It’s becoming, with each new housing development, an increasingly difficult problem," said Debbie Young, president of Friends of the Arlington Library.

"Back when Arlington was a little tiny town, it was very nice," she said. "At this point, the building is too small for the number of kids who are there after school."

Even so, supporters aren’t sure when they’ll turn to voters and ask again for a new library. Instead, library supporters will focus on finding answers.

"We’re trying to gather information from the community about what they want a new library to look like," Buckholz said.

Besides cost, one of the biggest issues is location. Although Arlington has a downtown, many residents live to the south in Smokey Point or to the east in Arlington Heights.

"It’s really nice for us, because everybody wants the library in their own back yard," Buckholz said. "It’s not like the garbage dump that nobody wants."

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