Voters gave Spokane County Library District $7.6 million to improve services and plug patrons into the digital information age.
But it’ll be six months to a year before the three Valley libraries show signs of that upgrade, county library directors said.
Voters outside city limits passed the bonds with 85 percent approval in a special election earlier this month.
Once the bonds are sold, the money will pay for three major improvements over the next five years:
Building two libraries in Airway Heights and Deer Park, then adding several improvements at the seven other branches.
At the Otis Orchards, Argonne and Valley branches, those include extra shelves, improved heating and air conditioning and new carpets.
Creating a sophisticated computer network for school users and patrons, expected to cost about $2.3 million.
The three Valley branches will each get several new computer terminals, plus Internet access. Schools in the Valley will hook up to the library’s system.
Adding about 100,000 new books, CDs and video items at all nine branches.
Valley branches will get about 45,000 of those new items.
Those items will start showing up on shelves in six months and will continue to be added over the next four years, said county library director Mike Wirt.
Less visible improvements at the Valley libraries are larger phone lines and improved security.
“We’ve had a few break-ins and want to be sure we can control that better,” said Wirt.
All middle schools and high schools in the Valley will get direct connection to the $2.3 million computer system that will automate access to information.
But that happen for at least a year, and maybe not until fall 1997, Wirt predicted.
“Because of how schools have to budget over the academic year, it’s probable they’ll have to wait until the start of school, after we get the system up and running next year,” he said.
Those school libraries will get either one or two computers connected to the county’s catalog.
Each will also have the choice of using the library’s Internet access. “Each school will decide for itself if it wants its students to take advantage of that,” Wirt said.