By Ann Zydek
In 2020, the Warsaw Community Public Library will develop a new five-year strategic plan.
Current library focus areas are access to the Internet, technology, special equipment and information; resources to enrich reading and leisure activities and stimulate imagination — collections, community connections and programs; and visit comfortable, safe, physical and virtual library spaces.
The library’s Board of Trustees and library staff seek the public’s help as staff strives to provide sustainable library services. Public services will transform as we learn what the public wants and needs through early 2020. The following are some things to consider.
What services should the library continue? Which book collections do you enjoy? Are these services you no longer use? What would you like the library to offer? More access hours? More digital services? More programs? Additional meeting rooms? More tech and special equipment access? New information resources and formats? More “Library of Things”? New digital collections? Quiet study rooms? Café/reading areas? Collaborative spaces?
With the library expansion and renovation project over 20 years old, it is time to replace many of the building’s systems. For example, in 2019, about half of the library’s rainy day fund helped replace the failed LULA elevator. In 2020, rainy days funds will replace corroded dry fire system pipes protecting the library’s physical collections. Other upcoming concerns are boilers, air conditioners and the Otis elevator.
Existing tax funds, predominately property taxes, are inadequate to cover these system repairs and keep daily operating services at current levels. Starting a yearly capital campaign with the long-range goal of a “sustainable” library facility flexibly meeting the future needs of the community and its residents is key. However, to meet short-term goals, a library bond would eliminate the growing list of immediate building maintenance and repair projects put on hold awaiting enough funds.
These projects include replacing worn furnishings, carpet, and revitalizing interior spaces. The interior lighting systems are near the end of life. Switching to LED lighting will help the library be eco-friendly.
Exterior projects include rebuilding the crumbling west retaining wall and repairing the parking lot as areas sink and cracks widen. The library also needs to repair the original Carnegie’s deteriorated south-facing window framework and drainage issues on the south side. Roof projects include replacing shingles and adding solar.
The library thanks the community for all of the support.