Questions and answers about our new Logan Library
Remodeling and expansion into the space vacated by the city administration may seem to be an easy solution, but there are several difficulties. First, the existing City Hall building was originally comprised of several old buildings that have been connected and remodeled a few times over the last 70 or 80 years. Prior to the current City Hall it was the Sears Store. There are many problems with the overall building that would need to be resolved. These include roof leaks, window replacement, mechanical and electrical system problems and numerous finish and repair items.
Second, in order to do such an extensive remodel while keeping the library in service, it would require several phases and would not only be a severe disruption to the use of the library, cause problems with dust and noise but would add to the construction costs.
Third, the existing building is too small to properly accommodate the library, even after remodeling the vacated north half. An addition of approximately 25,000 square feet will need to be constructed. This is a further disruption and quite expensive.
Fourth, to function properly, a library needs large open spaces with good visibility. The existing building is divided into many small rooms, so the building would essentially need to be gutted, again adding to the costs
Fifth, building codes have changed since the last remodel 24 years ago. It is likely that there will need to be extensive structural upgrades.
Finally, the building has no historic value or intrinsic design presence. A library should be distinctive and somewhat inspiring. A new facility will provide a new, functional library that will be a center for our community. We think this is a better value.
So while it seems that renovation and expansion would be considerably less expensive than building new space, in fact, after researching the current City Hall and Library space, we've discovered this is not the case. The cost could be more than 80% of what a new building would cost and after spending that amount of money it is still an old building.
Libraries are busier than ever. More books and materials are being borrowed, our computers are in constant use, there isn't enough space for story times or for the children and teenagers who swarm in the library after school. More than 45% of our residents use the library currently at least once a month and another 32% use it one to four times per year. These are the people who physically walk though our doors. Did you know that nearly one million people entered our library “virtually” or electronically this past year?
Communities throughout our country and the world are investing in new libraries – and those that do, see their use skyrocket. An article in the Christian Science Monitor in 2002 states that library use is growing rapidly and that library construction is on the upswing across the United States, and it is being fueled by the Internet. This is just one of many recent articles and studies which have affirmed this, including a study by PEW which showed the heaviest users of libraries right now are generation “Y”, 18 to 30 years old.
This is an issue that has been considered quite a few times during the past 20 years. While Logan has been receptive and even suggested the idea, no agreements have been able to be reached with any other communities in Cache Valley.
Planning and constructing a new library will take approximately 2.5 years following the passage of the bond measure. Since the need for a new library at this time is clear, waiting longer will result in escalating construction costs and more time our children and youth don't have access to the facilities they need today.
More than ten years ago there were master plans for the city that led to the acquisition of all the land in the City Block. This was to provide for the long-term needs for the city including the library. The land has been acquired and some of the last buildings are currently being razed. Other sites have been considered but are currently not available.
Libraries everywhere are being seen as a stimulus to economic development. The site, on City Block, will be perfect for a mixed-use development including commercial and retail development that is compatible with the library. With the more than five thousand people coming to the library each week, street activity and retail has a natural audience. A properly designed library that includes ample programmed activities, public meeting rooms and related commercial uses will strongly enhance our downtown community.