Consensus: Carson City Library is too small |

Consensus: Carson City Library is too small

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal The former post office on Plaza Street is a proposed site for the library.

Employees and others involved with the Carson City Library devoted a day last month to plan for the future.

The 40 employees, volunteers and board members who participated in the workshop created lists of priorities. Once the lists were compiled, the result was familiar: Virtually everything widely sought could only be done in a much larger building.

“We need more space,” said Library Director Sara Jones, who was hired in January.

The highest ranking community need was better separation of areas used by children, teens and adults. Next were: a separate Internet area with staff, a designated section for shipping and receiving, and a dedicated spot for sales of materials because this activity goes on in a section of the auditorium.

The library has been at 900 N. Roop St. since 1971. After a subsequent building expansion it’s less than 22,000 square feet in size.

Local officials have had informal discussions during the past several months with the federal government about eventually obtaining the downtown federal building, the former home of the U.S. Postal Service, in the 300 block of East Washington Street.

“We’re interested,” said City Manager Linda Ritter. “The location is ideal.”

The building was the home of the city’s main post office for about 30 years, until it moved to Roop Street and Little Lane in 2000.

It was built in 1965 and a slew of federal offices currently occupy the three-story building with nearly 86,000 square feet of usable space, including Bankruptcy Court, Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

“It’s a big building – we’d probably share it,” said Jones.

Among possible other tenants might be the Parks and Recreation Department. It’s also in need of more space.

When the Washington Street building was a post office, it drew a lot more people downtown which, in turn, helped businesses in the area, said Joe McCarthy, the city’s economic development manager.

It also would bolster the city’s attractiveness as a historic and cultural tourism destination.

Getting a high-traffic occupant back in the building “would be a home run,” he said.

More than an estimated 277,000 trips were made to the city’s public library in 2004.

There is no timeline for the plan, however.

Official discussion with the federal government about the property hasn’t started. And it hasn’t been determined whether there would be a payment to the feds for the property, Ritter added.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.

Other ideas

The June workshop allowed participants to consider a variety of other ideas, including a new possible vision statement: “Your public library is the vibrant heart of the community, where everyone can explore and be enriched by access to knowledge.”

Some future suggested additions and services:

• more staff

• added outreach activities and services

• café or coffee shop

• quiet reading rooms

• listening stations for audio and visual materials

• cultural programs

• fax capabilities

• outreach programs

• entertainment