Archive for Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Library feeling squeeze in numbers

February 27, 2008

The need for more space seems to have caught up with the Bonner Springs Library.

After several years of annual jumps in use and visit numbers, the library's numbers have leveled off.

In fact, they even dropped, from 130,306 items checked out, and 101,928 visits in 2006, to 122,344 checkouts and 101,117 visits in 2007. That's in spite of the addition of 4,204 new items, including books, DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs and magazine subscriptions.

Library director Kim Beets sees the downturn in usage numbers as yet another indication the library and its patrons are ready for a new space.

"I think it's still really busy," Beets said. "There's just so much you can do in the space we have."

Beets said she was "a little surprised, because we're just as busy as ever : But I knew that kind of growth can't last forever."

Those numbers might jump right back up this year, when the new library is completed. Demolition began last week of the Sacred Heart School building, where the new library will be constructed, at the corner of Insley and Nettleton. Demolition is expected to take about three weeks, and construction is set to begin this spring.

The new library will feature nearly five times the space of its current, 3,520-square-foot location, with 16,111 square feet. The new library will also feature an abundance of parking, with 58 spaces.

A $3.5 million bond to finance the new library and a .25 percent sales tax to repay the bond was passed by voters in September 2006.

The need for a new library was seen after the city commissioned a needs assessment for the library's next 20 years. The library's current 3,520-square-foot space was inadequate by the state's standards for libraries, and according to the state standards the furniture, equipment and materials in Bonner Springs Library require 9,000 square feet.

"That's why I'm very excited to have more space," Beets aid. "Once we have more space, we'll see the numbers grow again."

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