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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of November 13 - 19, 2002

Opinion Columns

Unbridled growth can be a good thing

Guest opinion by the Hailey Public Library Board of Trustees

Circulation and traffic up over 100 percent in 10 years: are we talking Highway 75? No, the Hailey Public Library and itís bursting at the seams!

The Board of Trustees is very excited about the growth the Library has experienced since its move in 1994 to the historic Fox Building on Main Street. As you may remember, in 1994 the citizens of Hailey overwhelmingly approved a bond for the purchase of the Fox Building for their new Library. The Library Board of Trustees, with the help of you, the public, secured a grant from the U.S. Government (Library Services Construction Act Title II funding) in the amount of $294,300 to remodel the ground floor of the Fox Building for Library service. The grant mandated that this space be used exclusively for library services until the year 2015.

It was originally estimated the new facility would have space to hold approximately 35,000 volumes. That number was reduced to 29,000 volumes to comply with ADA requirements. We add new volumes at the rate of 3,000 per year; however, because of space limitations, we now have to remove the same amount each year. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a library serving a population center of our size should have at least 41,000 volumes. We are currently working to address deficits in our library when compared to the NCES standards.

Computer usage has grown from 2,400 users per year in 1992 to over 900 per month or nearly 11,000 in 2002. Computer usage in the original grant was planned for 3 computers. We now have 8 public computers.

Our video collection has grown from 110 in 1992 to 420 in 2002. There is no space for expansion of this collection in the current facility.

The LSCA Grant called for library seating for 22 in the current facility. According to NCES statistics we should have at least 56 seats at this time. We achieved an increase to 55 seats through an Idaho Community Foundation Grant in 2000-2001. The number of seats needed in the future increases to 77 seats in 10 years if the current population growth continues. There is no more space to increase seating and stay ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant.

We have approximately 2,500 patrons, mostly children, served by library programs each month. These include 12 story hours, reading programs, adult book discussions and special events. We have experienced large increases in library traffic due to efforts to increase community partnerships, cultural events, and displays for public enjoyment.

The Hailey Public Library Long-Range Plan for January 2003 through December 2005 has as one of its most important Goals, the following: "the community will have access to a library facility with space for excellent services, materials and programs." The Library is a cornerstone of our town. It reflects our community and shows what we value.

What all this means is that the Library has run out of space. The Library and other concerned citizens have been working very hard over the last few years to come up with plans to address the growth of the Library. The first step is to expand into the Hailey Public Library Meeting Room. The funds necessary to utilize the Meeting Room for library services will come from money already raised by The Friends of the Hailey Public Library, and grants. The expansion wonít cost the public a dime.

The Board of Trustees, The Friends of the Library, Library Staff and concerned citizens will be presenting to the Hailey City Council ideas for utilization of the Hailey Public Library Meeting Room on Monday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. You, the public, are strongly urged to attend this important City Council meeting concerning our Libraryís future.

The Hailey Public Library Board of Trustees includes April MacLeod, Bege Reynolds, Carol Shanahan, Susan Carlson, Michael Breen.



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