Iver Matheson gave us a nice introduction to Ocean Park. You can find his piece on the background of the facility and community here.
Most interesting to me was his reflection on the summer families who come in and use the library during the summer. Its interesting, he said, to see kids come in every nine months and notice how their reading tastes change.
The library itself opened in 1985, the previous library in the community was operated out of the elementary school down the street until 1983. Currently their in the process of planning for a doubling of the library. The plan is to build an addition onto the current library, expanding it back into a city block the library district owns and possibly building a small park behind that.
I can speak to the need for expanding the library. When we showed up for the meeting, there was a day time children’s event happening, and it was nearly impossible to find a place to stand, let alone sit throughout the building. After wandering through their great local history section, I squeezed into chair at a small table.
We also discussed two other facilities, the new Nisqually tribal kiosk (which opened earlier this month) and the next door Yelm library. The city of Yelm is currently discussing the future of the facility. Timberland and Yelm’s agreement to share cost on a leased space comes to and end in 18 months and we haven’t heard yet if there is a plan for a future location.
One thing was that the deadline is actually much closer than 18 months. Since Timberland needs a year to plan for a new location, staff need to know where they are going in about six months to make the transition.
Also, I mentioned the possibility of a Library Capital Facility Area. In this scenario, the Timberland board would vote to request the Thurston County hold two elections whether to create and fund an LCFA. The city would need to agree with the request. Funding the LCFA would take a 60 percent vote.
There is one significant advantage of an LCFA. Since the boundaries of the area can be expanded beyond city limits, the burden of building and maintaining a library can be shared by all users, not just city residents. The failed LCFA in Olympia over ten years ago would have included almost the entire Olympia School District.
Here’s a rundown on LCFAs from the state library.