By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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The library district board Tuesday issued a call for a consultant to help determine whether the Sequim Library building at 630 N. Sequim Ave. should be remodeled or replaced with a new structure elsewhere.
“Ideally, we would love to keep the branch where it is,” said Paula Barnes, director of the library system, which oversees the public libraries in Sequim, Port Angeles, Forks and Clallam Bay.
“But we're going to take a look at all our options to determine what might be best,” Barnes added.
The district budgeted $20,000 for the study to determine the needs and feasibility of expanding the library.
Barnes said the consultant will study what kind of building the library will need in the next 20 years.
“Once we determine that, then we'll see what kind of building we'll need in the future,” Barnes said.
Proposals are due Feb. 21. Barnes said the board of trustees likely will award a consulting contract at its March meeting.
Bond request possible
If the library chooses to rebuild, the district feasibly would form a new capital facilities taxing district, probably following the Sequim School District boundaries, and ask voters in that area for a construction bond.
“But that's a little ways down the road,” Barnes said.
The current 6,000-square-foot building is on land owned by the library district.
It is a long, narrow lot, which Barnes said makes it difficult for those who need to park in the library's rear lot.
Traffic to the rear lot has to drive through the parking lot of the Sequim Worship Center.
“They've been great about allowing that,” Barnes said, “but it's not ideal for either of us.”
In 2012, Barnes said, the Sequim Library had 157,971 patrons who checked out about 440,000 items from the library's collection.
In 1982, when the current library was built, users circulated 114,933 items.
“We've definitely gotten a lot busier since this place was built,” Barnes said.
Even with the digitization of much of the library's content, Barnes said, the Sequim location will need more space for users to hold study meetings and children's programs, and more counter space for laptops and tablets.
Barnes said a previous study was done of the library's Sequim location in 2003 or 2004.
“But they were more looking at how much bigger of a library the current site could handle,” she said.
“This is rather a look at what we're going to need 20 years from now.”
For more on NOLS, visit www.nols.org or phone 360-417-8500 or 360-683-1161.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.