Prop. 14 could raise funds for library | SierraSun.com
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Prop. 14 could raise funds for library

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

It’s Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. at the Truckee Library.

A senior man is boarding a Dial-A-Ride shuttle to go home, after researching airline ticket prices on the Internet.

Toddlers are beginning to funnel out the front door after reading and singing with children’s librarian Teri Rinne during Tuesday Toddler Time.

Bonnie and Javier Carpio came today from their home in PlaVada Heights; the weather was nice and they were able to leave their house. “My husband reads the papers, we check out books and do occasional research,” said Bonnie. They usually come to the library every three to four weeks.

Mike Valentine, 74, is sitting at a table looking at Mutual Money Magazine. He comes to the library every two weeks to read money magazines, peruse different newspapers and research automobiles and appliances.

Sitting in rocking chairs around a small wooden table, Tom Phee and Carol Caron sit reading magazines and newspapers. They drive down to the library from their Kingvale home usually once or twice a week, to read newspapers, check out books and use the computers for email.

The library is bustling with people, activities, programs and materials and resources. While library staff and Friends of the Library board members are excited about the library’s growth, they are also concerned they are outgrowing their current space. As the March 7 ballot draws near, they hoping Proposition 14 will pass, bringing $350 million in state bond money to build new libraries.

“Our space is getting very tight,” Truckee librarian Lauri Ferguson said. “Since Measure B passed (two years ago) we have increased our collection tremendously with a lot more best-sellers, children’s books … everything really.”

With new books coming in almost daily, every inch of space has been dedicated to a bookshelf, Ferguson said.

Proposition 14 would allow the state to sell $350 million of general obligation bonds for local library facilities. The bond funds would be used to provide grants to local governments to construct new libraries, expand or renovate existing libraries and provide related furnishings and equipment. Local agencies would match 35 percent of the project cost. Libraries that are considered “joint use” libraries will get first priority in grant approval. Joint use libraries serve both the community and a particular school district.

Library staff and board members have set up an exploratory committee whose members include representatives from the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, Sierra College and community interest groups such as the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District to brainstorm possible partnership ideas for the future.

“People are looking for connections,” said Ferguson. “If Prop. 14 doesn’t pass, I don’t know where it (the exploratory committee) will go.”

According to Ruth Hall, Friends of the Library president and Truckee branch manager for Sierra Nevada Children’s Services, when Prop. 14 came up, so did the opportunity to focus on much needed library expansion and growth.

Board members explained exactly how much is crammed into the library’s existing space. Truckee’s population has quadrupled since the library was first built in 1976. With more materials – books, auditory resources and technical resources – more children’s programs and other community programs like literacy tutoring, privacy and space issues have come to staff’s attention. In the last six months, staff said, Internet use at the library has tripled. They have had to come up with creative ways to stock the bookshelves with all of the new books.

“Two years ago we were griping about not having enough books. Now we don’t have anywhere to put them,” Hall said.

And with the population still growing, the need for more programming is increasing. Hall said that 25 percent of the newborns born in Nevada County are born in Truckee.

“It’s really important for a library to meet the needs of all the children who are going to be growing up here. This is a big population we want to be serving,” she said.

Library furniture typically has to be moved or rearranged to accommodate all of the children during different reading or storytelling times.

“We need a new library no matter what,” Hall said. “There are exciting possibilities in designing a new library.” She said the committee has been brainstorming ideas for a new library which include stocking the shelves to better coordinate with school curriculum, a cultural center, a career center, meeting space, a law library, music/listening lab, a homework center, investment/business resources and special interests expressed by the Town of Truckee and needs assessments.

“There’s really all kinds of possibilities,” Ferguson said, who expressed she would like to hear from the public for visions they might have.

Proponents of Prop. 14 say that it is an investment in literacy and learning as well as libraries. With increased funding for new libraries and library expansion, Prop. 14 can help meet the growing needs of populations in California in areas like Truckee. Supporters also say that Prop. 14 puts money into vital needs and not administrative overhead, and provides funding to school and library partnerships, which helps promote literacy goals and support the educational system.

Those in opposition of Prop. 14 say that taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay for new libraries, and tax dollars should be spent to keep current libraries open for longer hours during the day. Opponents also say that taxpayers will be stuck paying for the bonds and their interest, for three decades. They argue new library buildings would be obsolete, as information can be retrieved and exchanged much more conveniently, and at a much lower cost, through the Internet.

Truckee Town Council voted last week to publicly support Prop. 14.


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