The Sequim branch of the North Olympic Library system and its co-authors are busy writing the library’s next chapter.
Or, perhaps, a kind of sequel.
Library officials and SHKS Architects opened doors to the public on July 9 and received comments from more than 120 people, detailing what they’d like to see in the Sequim branch.
“We (received) lots of great feedback that will help guide our next steps,” NOLS Executive Director Paula Barnes said.
One of those major steps may include a much larger facility than the current building, a 6,000-square-foot space that is comparably much busier than its system counterpart in Port Angeles. In 2012, Sequim’s branch circulated about 423,000 items in 5,800 square feet whereas Port Angeles circulated 462,000 items in 26,000 square feet, not counting administration offices.
With that in mind, NOLS board members and staff answered questions from dozens of library advocates, many of whom were drawn to designs showing what a 10,000-, 15,000- and 20,000-square-foot building would look like on the library’s property at 630 N. Sequim Ave.
Initial designs by SHKS Architects show incrementally larger facilities on the Sequim site expanding westward toward Sequim Avenue but retaining a driving path to the south, with most or all of the parking to the east, where a gravel parking area and Friends of the Library book sales take place.
The library system board members’ preferred plan, Barnes said, is to stay on the current library site and use it. “If we have to go buy land, the costs go way up,” she said.
A timeline shows another community workshop set for October, with a more formal presentation of expansion options, Barnes said. Until then, library officials will be looking at the hundreds of comments and surveys they’ve received. Among the popular comments the library received in early July included: more children’s programs, more spaces for community events and using the library as a community center.
A preliminary report from SHKS Architects is expected by late October or mid-November.
If the library system were to build a new library, the board would propose creating a Library Capital Facilities Area — likely following the boundaries of the Sequim School District — and ask the district’s 29,000-plus voters to support funding the building by passing a bond issue.
That bond would go to a ballot as early as 2015, according to the library’s own timeline.
Before then, Barnes said, “We need to do our homework.”
According to estimates from the state Office of Financial Management, Sequim’s population (by school district boundary) is expected to grow from about 31,900 up to 45,300 by 2040. Keeping that number in mind, library officials say, is key to planning expansion for the Sequim branch.
For more information, contact Lauren Dahlgren at 683-1161 or Sequim@nols.org.