FARR WEST -- With use of Weber County libraries at an all-time high, the libraries need to be renovated or rebuilt, Sheryl Pokorny told the Farr West City Council at a recent meeting.
Pokorny, in a presentation regarding a Weber County bond election, told the council that $45 million will be needed for repairs and rebuilding at several libraries, including the main branch in Ogden.
There are 1.3 million visits annually to Weber County libraries, Pokorny said, making libraries the important third space people use, with home being the first space and work being the second. She said besides checking out books to read alone or with someone, patrons gather at libraries to study, participate in activities such as the chess club, exercise learning skills, listen to music, watch films and use the computers. Staff is always on hand to assist library patrons in any way they can, she added.
Pokorny said the main branch on 24th street was built in 1968 and its aging infrastructure is failing. She said many repairs are needed, and there is corrosion and rust in the air-conditioning system along with a rusty boiler system.
Flooding two years ago went down the elevator shaft and has corroded pipes, she said.
"The building is becoming a safety hazard, with risk of future fires or flooding," Pokorny said. "We are spending lots of money on repairs."
She said the main library should be repaired rather than replaced because of the historical nature of its design, which is an example of modern formalism architecture.
The Ogden Valley branch was built in 1996 and is in good condition but needs many more parking spaces, Pokorny said. She said they had shared parking with the elementary school in Huntsville, but that school no longer exists, and there are currently only 28 parking stalls to serve the many more patrons attending events at the community center at that library.
Pokorny said the Southwest branch library in Roy needs to be replaced with a larger and more modern building. The Pleasant Valley library was built based on patrons' suggestions, she said, and they would like to do the same with the library in Roy. Built in 2009, the Pleasant Valley branch is currently sufficient to meet patrons' needs.
With library usage high in Utah, Pokorny said, libraries are a good investment here. She said that optimally libraries should have one patron per square foot, but some of the libraries have nearly six patrons per square foot.
Pokorny said the bond election will put the Weber County Libraries' urgent needs to a ballot vote of all Weber County residents.
Information about the bond election is available on the libraries' website, www.weberpl.lib.ut.us.