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Libraries face uncertain future

Connie Steiert
Vail, CO Colorado
Shane Macomber/Daily file photo After voters in November turned down a tax increase to fund library expansion, county libraries officials are discussing how to fund future services as the population grows.
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EAGLE COUNTY ” After a disappointing ” but not devastating ” loss in the November election, Eagle Valley Library District Director Charlynn Canada says it’s time to take stock again for the future.

“We’re pretty much operating with the status quo,” says Canada. “The library’s in strong financial shape for maintaining what we have now.”

In November, voters turned down the library district’s bid for a $15-million bond issue and a property tax increase, intended to expand current facilities and build a new library in Gypsum.

“We feel very fortunate with our library resources,” Canada says. “We don’t want to see them deteriorate because more and more people want to use them.”

Already, she says, the children’s sections in all three libraries ” Eagle, Gypsum and Avon ” are stocked to overflowing; and the children’s programs are always full. If Eagle County continues to grow at such a rapid pace, the district is going to be struggling to maintain that service unless it expands, says Canada.

The future of the Gypsum Public Library is even more uncertain. The space is currently leased from the town, which says it will eventually need the space to expand government offices.

The library in Gypsum will not go away, Canada says, but without the bond, the district does not have the funds to build a new one.

At a board meeting scheduled for mid-January, Canada expects the directors will discuss what steps it may take for the district’s future. One personal resolution Canada has already made, and one she says the other board members share, is to create a historical center in the district in the near future. Building a state-of-the-art historical center was part of the bond issue as well last November.

“One thing I think I and the board members are really committed to is establishing this local history center,” she says. “When people see you have a facility with temperature and humidity controls … they see you value what they have to contribute.”

This article first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.


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