Monday night, March 11th, the city council voted unanimously to approve three departments to move to different city owned facilities. Conversation surrounding this decision had been going on externally in the city for the past few months and internally for quite a bit longer. In fact, the library has been trying to find a suitable location for expansion for more than 10 years. As the library director, I am delighted to finally have a location that is going to afford us additional square footage, ample parking and room to grow. However, as a citizen of Carlisle I realize the impact moving the library will make, both to those who use the library in its current location, as well as to those who currently use the Rec Center. I would like to take just a few moments to share the library’s need and vision so that you can hopefully see from our shoes what an exciting time this is for us.
Our library (like many libraries) has slowly switched from an institution of research and study to a relaxed place of community and events. Gone are the ‘Reference Only’ sections and in its place are computers, comfy chairs and places to charge your cell phones. We still carry the best books but we also hold the best events! The number of events that we had for the community last year is staggering (324) and almost 3,500 people attended. But only a small number of those events were held inside the library because we cannot fit all the attendees inside! And many times when we could hold the event at the library, it was held after hours because we needed the entire building- all 3,600 sq ft- to hold the event. What does all this mean? We have simply outgrown our current building. We desperately need a program room where we can hold story time, kids programing, summer reading performers, book clubs… where would be available for public use as well! In addition, we would love to have a study room or two for a quiet space to tutor or to meet with an accountant. We are also desperate for good storage space- we only have 1 tiny close right now, and a functional employee workflow area.
I have worked at the Carlisle Public Library for almost 8 years and as the director for almost 6. Carlisle is my family’s home and we are invested in this community. So I understand that change in community can be hard. But I also know that there is no perfect spot right now in a town that is separated by a large highway.
As for turning the Rec Center into a library we feel it will:
· Give us much needed extra room
· Allow us to do outdoor programming
· Give us room to expand in the future
· Allow for more parking and parking expansion
· Allow us to reach members of the community who cannot reach us in our current location
There are so many questions yet to be answered- timing, cost, what happens to the current library. I don’t have those answers yet. But 10 years is a long time to wait! And I know the Library Board will want to work on those details as soon as they can. We will pass on information as soon as we can.