When the board met almost two weeks ago (I need to really be better about these updates) we received updates on two possible library projects, both of which could be joint use public/school libraries.
We’ve been talking about the possibility of a new Oakville library for the past few months, but now the details are beginning to firm up.
For the Oakville, Timberland has brought in an architect to start putting details together for the various possibilities, which include various combinations of a library, community center and museum. All these could either be included in a revamped library inside the existing Oakville school or in a new free standing building on school property.
The discussion on revamping the current school library for joint public/school use was very interesting to me. A cheaper option compared to the standalone option ($500,000 vs. $1.5 million), it is also already he same size as what a stand alone library would be. There is also a possibly incorporating the existing school collection (which is apparently underused) into Timberland’s.
In Cosmpolis, there is some interest in developing some level of library service there, possibly another joint school/public library.
Two things that I took interest in during the meeting:
- Cosmopolis, though not having a library for a couple decades, has been an annexed city, paying property taxes to TRL. I’ve known this, but it was a good reminder.
- Also, it is the impression of educators in Cosmopolis that students there don’t necessarily use the Aberdeen library, which I didn’t know.
Obviously, Cosmopolis is much less further on than Oakville, but I’m very excited that we’re moving in this direction.
More pressing to me is exploring exactly how we’d develop a joint use agreement with school districts. Balancing public access to a library while also recognizing that not everyone should be able to come onto school grounds will be tricky, I think.
But, there is obviously a great deal of good that can be done by getting library services into under-served communities, and joint use libraries just might be the answer.