Site approved for new Truckee library
After years of advocating for a new library, Friends of the Truckee Library received approval from the Truckee Donner Parks and Recreation Department for a library site at the entrance of the Truckee Regional Park.
“We want a place to serve the community,” said Louise Zabriskie, president of the Friends of the Truckee Library board. “We have such great sports facilities up here. This meets another need for our community that’s lacking here.”
Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding last month to designate the two acres of land for a new library.
Truckee’s library opened in 1976 when the population of Truckee was around 2,000 people. The same facility, at 4,500 square feet, is now serving a population of over 16,000.
“Truckee is isolated and library services are much less in our community than they are in the western part of the county,” said Zabriskie. “We need a library that fits our town and our population.”
Now that a site has been confirmed, Zabriskie said the group is going to start a campaign to promote a new library to the community. The Friends of the Truckee Library is using two $10,000 grants from the Martis Camp Community Foundation and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation to start the campaign.
“We really want to help the community in Truckee be aware of what 21st century libraries are like today,” said Zabriskie. “They’re really becoming a community hub. A place for people of all different backgrounds to come together.”
Additionally it will continue to work with the town and county to design the building, estimate the cost and eventually find funding.
“We’re working with them to see how we’re going to move forward,” she said.
Zabriskie said they will begin doing feasibility studies and start the campaign within a year with the hope of breaking ground in five to seven years.
Years in the Making
The push for a new library has been years in the making. In 2015 Friends of the Truckee Library hired consultants to assess the town’s library and determine if it was large enough to adequately serve the community. According to Zabriskie, the study concluded that the town should have a 17,000- to 20,000-square-foot library.
“This has been going on for a long time,” she said.
Truckee had previously looked at taking control over the library from the county to facilitate construction of a larger building. A study presented to Truckee Town Council in February concluded that it was not a feasible option.
According to a study by Management Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in local government, library revenues are projected to increase at 3% per year. However, salary and revenue expenses, which make up 70% of the operating budget, will increase at a faster rate.
Measure A sales tax revenue is the primary funding source for Nevada County libraries. The report assumed 26% of Measure A revenue would return to Truckee. However, a staff report states, this is well below the five-year annual average of 29.1%.
According to the report, the “library budget is particularly vulnerable to economic downturn.” The report projected 90% of the library budget would come from Measure A sales tax, adding that “economic downturn tends to cause a more immediate and dramatic change to sales tax than to other revenue sources.”
To be eligible for Measure A funding, the town would also still need to be part of Nevada County library system. This would mean legally the town could not have a truly independent library.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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