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Questions linger as Creston Library plans move forward

Published: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 11:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 12:31 p.m. CDT

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Questions still remain as Gibson Memorial Library moves forward with proposed relocation and renovation.

Gibson Memorial Library Board of Directors will hold a public town meeting 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at its proposed new location, Lincoln School, located at Jefferson and Peterson streets. The public forum will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the proposed changes and community benefits and offer residents a platform to ask questions and voice their concerns.

Lincoln to Library: A Novel Idea

The Matilda J. Gibson Memorial Library has identified a solution to meet the increasing needs of the Creston community.

"The library has always been a center of knowledge for our community" said Ann Coulter, library board president. "We just do not have the space to do it anymore at our current location."

Libraries have morphed from a place to store and check out books to a community gathering space and information epicenter. According to Coulter, the additional 17,000 square feet will allow the library to expand its collection with new materials, expand current programs and implement new programs. The Gibson Memorial Library of the future will feature a cultural center, social networking areas, technology training centers, conference and community rooms, children area, teen zones, quiet study area and group study area.

"There is a high concentration of kids in the Lincoln area." said Coulter.

Lincoln School currently serves as a bus drop-off area.

Coulter forsees a real opportunity to implement after-school programming for Creston students.

With the relocation of the middle and high schools, Gibson Memorial Library has experienced a decline in student visitors. Coulter said she looks forward to adding after-school programs for students that offer homework help, mentoring, story time, snacks and serve as a location for club meetings.

"I don't think anyone in 1931, the year the library was built, could have predicted the explosion of technology needs we have in the 21st century, " said Coulter. "The common misconception is that the library usage would decrease with the arrival of computers and electronic readers; however, the opposite is true."

In addition to traditional services and book check-out, the library provides computer access and training, Internet access and wireless connectivity and digitized magazines and books. The proposed location will offer space for additional computer terminals, a laptop bar and free WiFi at no cost to patrons.

Mayor Warren Woods feels the the library has out grown its current location and residents seek a place to go and relax, read a book or gather with other community members.

"Space is the main thing" said Woods.

"The downstairs will have a community center with a warming kitchen."

He believes that more community groups and families will use this space to host meetings, events, family gatherings and wedding receptions.

"We just need to move forward. We are sitting on a place that is not big enough for the current needs of our community, or any community of this size" said Woods.

Currently, the board is considering a fundraising plan.

"This is going to be a tough hill to climb." said City Administrator, Mike Taylor. "Many people are misinformed and believe their taxes will go up. This project will be completed with private funding."

City council has not agreed to provide any funding for the relocation and renovation of Gibson Memorial Library.

According to Coulter, the estimated cost of the project is 1.7 million dollars.

The library currently has $270,000 raised.

"We are no where near our goal, but I am optimistic." said Coulter. She reiterates, "This will all be done with private funding."

Gibson Memorial Library fundraising plan includes ways prospective donors can make a contribution, such as the Giving Tree Donation Recognition campaign. Donors can make a contribution ranging from $125 to more than $25,000 and will be recognized accordingly. Larger donors will have the opportunity to name a room in the new building. Donor forms are available on the Gibson Memorial Library website.

"People haven't taken advantage of attending public meetings to learn more about the project" said Taylor. "They aren't aware of how modern day libraries are changing."

All Creston residents are encouraged to attend the public town meeting 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at Lincoln School.

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