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A modern library is a key component of any community’s education system. It’s the place where people of any age or circumstance can come to learn about anything–information that helps them in their jobs, with their families or in that wonderful place called imagination. The La Conner Regional Library and its staff bring to the public programs and collections that are crucial to the community’s well-being.
Now, after more than 20 years as a well functioning library, a new and larger facility will provide much needed space and expanded programs to benefit everyone in the community.
Why is a new library needed?
Lack of a community meeting room impacts the programs that can be offered, especially for children. Studies have shown the importance of early literacy in preparing children to succeed in school. A meeting room means programs can be expanded and offered at more convenient times for families.
Lack of space makes it tough for school aged kids and teens, too. Students find few spaces to sit were they can work on homework by themselves or in a group. Teens have few places to hang out in La Conner and the library should be one of them–with more space. Studies have shown kids who read during the summer return to school with better skills. The library’s special activities are designed to keep them engaged but without a separate meeting space, the programs have to be scheduled before the library opens to the general public.
Technology is a driving force. On a daily basis people use the library to check e-mail, file taxes, submit job applications and take online classes. The library is at capacity with the number of public PCs available. Access to WiFi is also limited due to seating space and electrical outlets. People often sit in their cars in the parking lot, using their laptops or other mobile devices.
Computer classes for adults have been one of the library’s most popular programs, but without a meeting room, classes must be held before or after the library opens.
The current building is not ADA accessible. For example, there’s a narrow ramp into the front door and no ramp in back. Once inside, narrow aisles, tables and chairs make it difficult to navigate in a wheelchair or walker.
Doubling in size, the new library will grow to nearly 5,000 square feet to better serve the community at a new location, 520 Morris Street — just one block east of the current library. Right now the Friends of the Library and La Conner Kiwanis are jointly operating the La Conner Library Thrift Shop at this location, with proceeds paying the mortgage on the property and contributing to the building fund.
Plans for the new library include:
- Free community meeting room
- ADA accessible facility and restrooms
- Quiet spaces for study
- Space to display revolving collections of local art
- Expanded collection and more computers