The Post Falls City Library serves a population four times bigger than the one it was built to serve in 1980.
Library officials say it’s time for a new building.
“No one has challenged the need,” said Freeman Duncan, a volunteer member of the Post Falls Library Building Committee. “The library has been very patient. There’s a close tie between the library and schools, and we’ve never wanted to jeopardize a school bond. The library has waited and waited, and now is the time.”
A library bond issue will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot asking for $2 million to build a new library on the current library’s site. For a home in Post Falls valued at $100,000, the bond would add $21.88 in taxes each year.
If the bond passes, the city will allocate $225,000 from the capital improvement fund for the project.
The library houses about 23,000 books and 2,000 other items in 4,500 square feet.
Due to its lack of space, the library must continually put books in storage to make room for new materials.
“Our building is bowing under the use,” library director Joe Reiss said.
The new 21,000-square-foot structure the board of trustees wants could hold close to 90,000 books - 67,000 more than it now can handle and a volume Reiss says could serve the Post Falls population until 2020.
The Post Falls School District donated about an acre of unused land adjacent to the current library site.
The city vacated Catherine Street, setting aside half of it for the school district and the other half for the library.
That gives the library about 1.3 acres, Reiss estimated.
“We have expandability built into the design,” he said.
The library Board of Trustees paid an architect to create a draft layout for the new building, using input from the board, the building committee and library patrons.
The plans include a large children’s area, five meeting rooms for public use, two sets of bathrooms, a work area for librarians, a technical room that could contain computers with Internet access, study carrels with outlets for plugging in laptop computers and copious stacks of books throughout the building.
“We think the $21.88 per year for that hypothetical average is a pretty good deal,” Duncan said.
And if the new library has adequate space devoted to providing Internet access, that could lead to federal grant money to help pay for technology, he said.
“At the state level, libraries are viewed as the major on-ramp for the information highway,” Duncan said.
But because the federal government no longer gives money for library construction, the bond money and the capital improvement funds from the city will have to cover the cost of construction.
“It just means that like usual, this town’s going to do this by its bootstraps,” Reiss said.
“There is no alternative,” Duncan said. “Really, the vote on Nov. 4 is: ‘Are we going to have a decent library or not?”’
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: FREE RIDE DONATED Post Falls Library volunteers and Chariot Limousine Co. of Hayden are donating free rides to the polls Nov. 4 for voters without transportation. People who need rides must call the library at 773-1506. The library will schedule the transportation throughout the day.