Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2006

Board member: voters can make a statement

February 23, 2006

Five days from now, voters in the Basehor Community Library district will have an opportunity to shape the next 10 to 15 years of the library's operation.

On Feb. 28, patrons will be asked to decide the fate of a $2.99 million bond issue. Funds from an approved bond issue would pay for a new building on 158th Street, near the Prairie Gardens subdivision.

The issue will affect thousands of people. According to the library, 7,622 residents live within the 50-square mile district and more than half of them, 4,000, are library cardholders.

Library officials have been busy stumping for the proposal in recent weeks. This week, board member John Flower sat down with the Sentinel to explain why voters should approve the bond package.

Q: Why should voters approve this bond issue?

A: The reason is there is no space left at the current location to allow for more resources, books, DVDs and audio tapes, which should be in place so people in this community can come to the library and find a wide selection on subjects they're interested in viewing. The voters ... have the opportunity to make a statement about this great, growing community. They currently have a valuable asset in the library, which is not able to provide the level of service it should due to space limitations.

Q: You indicated location has been a sticking point with some voters. Why is the 158th Street site the best location for a new building?

A: Locating the library on 158th has several advantages we don't now enjoy. The first is there will be ample parking in a parking lot that's not on the street, where you take your life into your own hands just to back out, and that's if you were lucky enough to find a spot. Second is the new library will be closer to the center of the district, thus serving the total population better. Also, as we look at the growth of the city, a significant number of planned developments are to the west and thus a new location will be a part of that growth. To complement these benefits we are blessed to have a member of the community donate the land to us and thus save the community thousands of dollars.

Q: Explain the 'You Deserve Better' campaign slogan.

A: As the library board reviewed the comments from patrons and from surveys we sent out, it was apparent the community wanted more from their library. It became clear the taxpayers deserved and wanted a better library for the money they were spending. Consequently, we looked at how we could make it happen. After we enacted several of the actions suggested by the people from the survey, such as downsizing the original plans for a new library and modifying the financing, that allowed us to reduce the overall price significantly. We discovered for a few dollars more a year we could provide a far superior library to this community than what it has today. Thus, we decided on the campaign slogan as an appropriate way to tell people they could get more for their money and they deserved better for their money.

Q: Are voters responding to this latest proposal and are voters in the southern half of the district being reached?

A: We are very pleased with the reception we've received. We've heard from two types of people -- those who are firmly behind the bond issue and those who are uncertain and have questions regarding the new library. Of course we love to hear from the first group and really appreciate the support of those who know the value of an excellent library in the community. However, it's the questioning group we have most enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to. Our experience is when you are able to answer their questions and tell them the benefits of the new library their resistance softens and it's common to hear "Oh, I didn't understand it that way and thanks for telling me more."

A lot of times we hear, "is that all it's going to cost us?"

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