Del Norte library trustees are searching for a new home outside the tsunami zone for the county’s collection of books, movies, computers and periodicals.
Trustees hope to find a place large enough to expand the library’s young adult and children’s sections, to house its literacy and nonprofit programs under one roof and to showcase the various cultures that call the area home, said Board President Sierra Smith.
They’re also planning upgrades to the library’s existing building at 190 Price Mall in Downtown Crescent City in the hopes of increasing its value and enhancing its curb appeal, Smith said.
The Del Norte County Library Board of Trustees decided to move forward on a five-year plan for searching for a future facility and upgrading the existing one at a seven-hour retreat following its June 27 meeting. One of the board’s long-term goals is to determine whether they should sell it or rent it, she said.
“What we will do with that building will determine where we’re going to go for the library,” Smith said. “We want to update the building to get it to its best possible place.”
The library board has a building fund of more than $300,000, but for several years trustees have been unable to decide how to use it, Smith said.
Trustees had an engineer to inspect the current building to determine if the library could be expanded either by building out or building up, Smith said. But because the building is in a wetlands and sits on pilings an environmental impact report and testing would be necessary, she said. Plus whether the existing building could handle the weight of another floor is questionable, Smith said.
One initial step, apart from typing up the strategic plan for the board’s July 25 meeting, is to begin fundraising. Smith said now that the Board of Trustees has a goal, she’s hoping the community can rally around the library.
A new library outside the tsunami zone would have enough space to provide space for community meetings, a room showcasing the local Hmong and Native American communities and a young adult and a children’s section that’s further developed, Smith said. It would also allow Del Norte Reads, the community’s adult literacy program, and the Friends of the Library to be housed within the facility itself.
“We’re going to be looking for a building between 10,000 and 12,000 square feet,” Smith said. “At the end of the month, at our regular board meeting, we’ll have the whole strategic plan mapped out. All of us have a part mapped out and then we will have specific jobs that we will all be a part of.”
Library manager Shane Pipinos-Gausepohl said it would be great for the library to stay in Downtown Crescent City, but he hopes he and trustees can find a place that would fit the community’s needs regardless of location.
“The library needs to be the hub of the community,” he said. “As far as a particular location? Well, I am not sure. There are a lot of empty buildings in town that could possibly be a good fit.”