The Lyons Regional Library District Board of Trustees would like to take this opportunity to respond to a letter which appeared in the April 13 issue of The Lyons Recorder regarding the new library.
Finances: The Library District has not taxed the community $500K more than is needed. Tax income from our mill levy rate of 5.85 mills is based on property values set by the Boulder and Larimer
County Assessor’s Offices. The Library District does not set these values, and the Library District is not asking for a rate increase.
The District receives $430K (rounded) in annual tax revenue, and operates the current storefront library for $260K (rounded). Over the past two years, we have prudently set aside funds in a capital account to help fulfill our voter-approved mission of building a new Lyons regional community library. As of today, we have just over $330K in this account. (This amount also includes state-mandated reserves which are not available for project costs.)
There is no scenario in which every three years the District accumulates $1 million in savings. Our operating costs will rise with the new building to include additional hours, more patron services, larger utility payments, increased insurance, higher required reserves, and debt service for our construction financing. At that point, we will no longer be saving for the new library, but enjoying it!
Relevance: The notion that a library is “principally to store books” displays a lack of familiarity with the full scope of library services. People gather at a library for many reasons. In addition to traditional books (both from our shelves and through our cost- and space-saving inter-library loan program) we provide e-books, dvds, audio books, periodicals, classes and lectures, story times, workshops and club opportunities for all ages, homeschool resources, research and business resources, book club support, print, scan, and notary service, meetings, computer training, and free internet access for all. In short, our modern world. Contrary to predictions that desire for these services is on the wane, demand for them in our community is in fact growing by a significant amount. In 2016 Lyons materials circulation increased 111%, and visits increased 40%.
Performance Capability: Every single Board discussion of the new building has enthusiastically embraced the necessity for a community room space capable of presenting performances. The current vision is for a multi-purpose space that can serve the maximum amount of community needs, including lectures, workshops, meetings, Town Halls, events, and exhibits. The Building Committee shows good due diligence when it develops worst- and best-case size scenarios for this room.
Community Input: The new library and the planning for it are consistent with Recovery Goals. The District has surveyed the community twice, once in 2013 and again in 2016. We held an Open House in May 2016 for concept feedback. Results were consistent. The community’s top priorities are: meeting space that can accommodate a variety of events, computers and internet access, exhibit space, a separate children’s area, space for quiet reading, and more books and periodicals in a variety of media (print, digital, tape, etc.).
The ultimate size and outfitting of our Library will depend on many things: site constraints, funding, donations, and community priorities. And, of course, the skill of our accomplished architect, Dennis Humphries.
We invite everybody to come meet him and other members of the design team on Thursday, April 20, at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., at Oskar Blues.
The Lyons Regional Library District Board of Trustees:
Kathleen Crane, Lori Adams-Weaver, Drew Biel, Darcie Sanders, Sandy Banta, Sarah Catchpole, and Lisa Sobieniak