Library bond moves forward

Voters decide Aug. 19 on $2.3 million measure

The library is more than just books. It’s a community hub that is home to activities to patrons of all ages.

That’s one of the reasons why Sno-Isle Libraries officials are trying to convince the public to approve a bond that would fund expansion of the Coupeville branch.

Library officials attended Monday’s Coupeville School Board meeting to pitch their case.

Officials plan to more than double the size of the building located on Alexander Street from 2,660 square feet to 5,400 square feet. To pay for that, voters would have to approve a $2.3 million bond that will take 20 years to pay off.

Library manager Leslie Franzen said the expansion is needed for a simple reason: The community wants a bigger library.

“The consistent message we got from members is we need more space,” Franzen said.

Library use has increased over the past 10 years with the number of checkouts up by 43 percent and the number of programs offered up by 72 percent.

“Libraries are community centers and they are very vital,” Franzen said.

To move forward with the project, the Coupeville Town Council approved a two-part resolution Tuesday night. It asks voters to decide whether to establish a library capital facilities area and if they want to support the property tax increase.

The capital facilities area would be identical to the Coupeville School District boundaries. Franzen said many Central Whidbey residents use the Coupeville Library and the facilities area would be a fairer way for residents to repay the bond as it spreads out the cost.

For Sno-Isle Libraries to receive its funding, the capital facilities area proposal has to pass by a 50 percent margin while the bond has to pass by a 60 percent margin. If approved, it would cost a property owner approximately 7 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.

Several school board members questioned Franzen about the expansion details.

Board member Cindy Van Dyk asked whether the expansion would provide more space for books and for the community.

Franzen said that it provides more book space and the additional community space will be one of the biggest selling points to the community.

Voters will decide Aug. 19 and the expansion will take between six and 12 months to complete.

Franzen has also visited the Coupeville Lions Club, Central Whidbey Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce. She is planning to meet with more community groups in May and June.

There is a campaign kickoff scheduled to take place during the Coupeville Farmers Market on Saturday, May 3.

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