OGDEN -- The Weber County Library bond election ended in success for supporters of the $45 million changes outlined in the proposed bond.
Voters passed the bond with 54.3 percent in favor, setting in motion several major changes that will affect library users in Weber County.
Early returns indicate the election, which was the first primarily mail-in election in Weber County's voting history, brought out about 26 percent of Weber County's 102,865 registered voters, impressive numbers by the county's standards.
More than 26,000 are reported to have voted via mail, and more than 500 chose to vote traditionally by poll. Election Director Jennifer Morrell estimates about 5,000 ballots still need to be counted, but the voter turnout impresses her.
"It went so smoothly. The turnout at the polls was minimal, which means that most people chose to vote by mail. We were hopeful people would vote that way, but we were not sure. During the election last November, my phone was ringing off the hook, and I barely had a moment to breathe. This time, we were able to visit the polls, and there were almost no problems reported," Morrell said.
Before the election, library Director Lynnda Wangsgard expressed confidence in the bond, citing the feedback she received from community members.
"We have had a lot of people in the community indicate they are very supportive. The only input we have been given from them has been overwhelming excitement about the plan," she said.
The plan affects nearly every library in Weber County's parameters.
The Main Library on Jefferson Avenue in Ogden will receive upgrades including fixing its boilers, which are beyond their life cycle and in need of custom-made parts, having flooded the library's basement several times.
A 7-acre Roy property adjacent to an under-construction elementary school will be the site of the new Southwest Branch under the plan. The first part of the plan's construction is scheduled to be completed in 2014, when the Ogden Valley Branch in Huntsville gets additional parking space.
The plan will likely continue into 2018, when the Main Library is scheduled to be completed and rededicated.
"I think it's wonderful anytime people turn out and voice their opinions," Wangsgard said.
Many voters were likely among the Weber County Library System's reported 1.3 million visitors. That number indicates an increase since 2005, when it was reported that about 800,000 people visited the various branches.