Yelm Timberland Regional Library
Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave
The current agreement between the City of Yelm & Timberland Regional Library (TRL) to operate a public library in a rented, private facility comes to an end in just over 18 months, December 31, 2011. The City of Yelm was granted an exemption to operate for 10 years in a rented facility in 2001 – the ONLY library in TRL’s system to be granted such an exemption – while the city developed a suitable public building. The City of Yelm has done NOTHING to get a public library building here, except get distracted by a potential of putting a library building on land offered at a reduced price by Tahoma Terra developers 4 years ago, and who later withdrew their offer and the undeveloped sections of the development subsequently went bankrupt.
On February 9, 2010, Mayor Harding discussed the future of a library in Yelm at his State of the City address to the Yelm Chamber of Commerce saying the City of Yelm will support a library here, however not to the size & stature to which the community has grown accustomed [Yelm’s library in Prairie Park]. He said though the city will no longer have TRL’s partnership on paying rent at the end of the current agreement, he would keep the public informed about the status of several ideas, including extending the current rental lease 3-5 years while an alternative site is searched. There has been a little cursory action by the city on acquiring a Yelm public library building during the last 8 years of the TRL exemption.
THERE HAS BEEN NO OFFICIAL FURTHER WORD FROM THE CITY SINCE.
According to the Nisqually Valley News on January 10, 2010,
‘Were having a conversation with the property owner (of Prairie Park) to renegotiate a reduced price and extend the current lease, Mayor Ron Harding said.
Harding submitted a proposal to TRL suggesting the two entities extend the lease three to five years, at a new negotiated rate, and split the cost.”
However, the TRL Board of Directors met on Wednesday, March 31 and in public action, considered Mayor Harding’s proposals and stated they will honor their contract with the City of Yelm to provide service from the current location through December 31, 2011. Yet, the TRL Board agreed that after the conclusion of the current contract, the city will be responsible to provide an appropriate library facility [January 1, 2012 & beyond].
Ed. Note: Seems Mayor Harding was counting on his negotiating skills to convince TRL to remain a partner in paying rent in the current, private facility beyond 2011. If that was the case, that has now back-fired.
Mayor Harding has stated the city can not afford to pay the rent alone to operate in the current library building at Prairie Park. So, that leaves the city with moving the library back to much smaller City Hall space or paying rent in perhaps a third of the space the library now occupies.
Still unanswered questions:
1. what happens on January 1, 2012 for a Yelm Library?
2. if in a much smaller facility, what happens to the books, tapes & other periodicals not able to be housed in a downsized facility?
3. If in a much smaller facility, what happens to the Yelm Library Staff we have come to know?
THE YELM TIMBERLAND REGIONAL LIBRARY OPERATIONS ARE FUNDED FROM PROPERTY TAXES COLLECTED INSIDE YELM CITY LIMITS AND COUNTY PROPERTY OWNERS OUTSIDE OF THE CITY LIMITS.
WHERE ARE THE DEMANDS OF PATRONS FOR ANSWERS FROM MAYOR HARDING & CITY OFFICIALS FOR A YELM PUBLIC LIBRARY’S FUTURE?
Nisqually Valley News reporter Megan Hansen wrote on Friday, June 18th:
“Yelm Mayor Ron Harding spoke in support of the library on behalf of the city. The library board is comprised of all volunteers, Harding said…
In some trying times here, were trying to figure out how to sustain the library.
The librarys lease at its current location expires at the end of 2011, by which time the city plans to come up with another solution.
Well find a plan, Harding added.
We just dont know what the plan is yet.
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How hard could it be to come up with a plan to keep a community library in Yelm, and keep it to the standard that we have grown used to. TRL has given Yelm plenty of time to come up with some sort of plan. 11 Months is definately not enough time to build a new facility, so it looks like procrastinating didn’t get us anywhere. How about the old QFC store space? Has that been looked into? If the property owners of Prairie Park do not want to compromise on their lease then maybe this other space would work. It’s worth looking into.
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