Residents talk about future of libraries

  • Jenny Lynn Zappala<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:13am

Residents see libraries as community spaces that they hope will grow and offer more services in the years to come. They’re not certain voters want to pay for it although a specific plan would help.

The Sno-Isle Library District will consider feedback like this when they start drafting a 20-year plan. The district’s board of trustees will start crafting the plan using public comments at a Monday, June 26, meeting.

Residents will get a chance to scrutinize the plan and offer more feedback this fall.

There are some communities that are looking at library bonds to build new or bigger libraries in the next 12 months. Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Brier are not on that list, said Mary Kelly, library district spokeswoman.

“We are not always hearing that bigger libraries are better,” said Mary Kelly, library district spokeswoman. “There is a desire for meeting space and people see their libraries as community center and that the community should be able to use their library in a variety of ways.”

The board will have to consider other ways to meet those needs, she said.

Residents provided their comments and ideas through letters, e-mails, a web survey and public meetings at libraries — including Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Brier Libraries. There are some distinct trends in the written comments.

In Brier, residents said they like their small, cozy library and are comfortable ordering items to pick up at the library.

What they want is separate meeting room for programs and groups to meet without disturbing others. They also suggested adding a playground, a fish tank, author programs, a larger space for staff and extended hours.

Four residents, one city council member, four staff members and one trustee attended the Brier meeting.

In Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood, some residents expressed an interest in keeping the libraries within or moving them closer to each city’s core, according to the meeting minutes.

In Lynnwood’s case, there was a desire to keep the library at a civic campus near the recreation center and other civic buildings.

The nine people attended the Lynnwood Library meeting — including four staff members and three trustees — noted that there is not enough computers, quiet study rooms, reference libraries or parking.

In Mountlake Terrace, city manager John Caulfield entertained the idea of making the library a part of the Town Center area along 56th Avenue W., a senior center or a community center. Others said they like the library right where is between Veterans Park and City Hall, according to written comments.

In Mountlake Terrace, there was also some disagreement about technology. Some residents favored adding more computers, computer classes and other technology as long as it was “centralized.” Others said patrons are relying on computers too much and it gets in the way of finding books.

District officials noted that there is room to expand the existing Mountlake Terrace Library to the south. Someone suggested putting more meeting rooms in a new city hall and converting the library’s meeting room into more library space.

Eighteen people attended the Mountlake Terrace Library meeting including five staff members and three trustees.

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