Astoria's city library can use a make-over. The Library Board and the Friends of the Library have been discussing the idea for some time and have reached the point where they are ready to invite the public to become actively involved in the process with a number of opportunites to offer input over the next month.
Last week a meeting was held with stakeholders at the Clatsop County Historical Society Heritage Center, in a room that once served as the city library, to discuss in broad terms what each person might like to see in a new library for the city. Ruth Metz led a discussion designed to gather input from the group on what they felt would be the kind of services they would like to see the new library provide. There was little discussion about what the building would look like though Estes told the group that the initial idea is to use the shell of the building on it's current footprint and redesign the interior to better suit the needs of users. He said that if it turns out that a larger footrpint would be needed to effectively meet the needs they discover as the public input is gathered then that would be considered as well. Most of the comments seemed to deal with improvements to the exisiting infrastructure such as better heating and cooling, and a drinking fountain. There was some discussion about the wisdom in building to suit the actual ability of the city to provide for the support of that new library rather than building something the city might not be able to afford to operate.
On KAST Friday city librarian Jane Tucker had the numbers showing that the volume users at the Astor Library has skyrocketed in every catagory since 2007 with the country's economic downturn. Tucker told KAST's Tom Freel that people are using the library for it's internet connections and computers, DVD check-outs have gone up over 700% with patrons asking for more and book check outs are incredibly high keeping staff very busy.
The first opportunity for the public to see what might happen with a new library and how the planning process projects the needs out for a 25 year time frame will come on Tuesday August 6th with a presentation and public input session at the Liberty Theater wth doors openning at 5pm.
On August 18th the city will have an information and public input booth at the Astoria Sunday market, with a similar effort at The Thursday River People Farmers Market on August 8th. For more information CLICK HERE