Facebook’s SAVE THE LIBRARY group has totally missed the point – their motto:
“The downsizing or total elimination of our library is not an option!”
If this motto of theirs is to ring true, their rallies should be in front of Yelm’s City Hall and City Council meetings, in whose hands the downsizing of a library will fall, yet they are focused only on Timberland’s Board tonight. They totally do not want to know & understand that the City of Yelm is under contractual responsibility to supply a public library building here. Why do they not want to acknowledge that nor tell the public that fact?
With a presentation by Mayor Harding to the Timberland Regional Library tonight for a plan he proposes to keep the library at the current location with TRL reportedly splitting the purchase price of $1.2 million, this annual report by the Mayor-appointed Library Advisory Board still applies today:
My fellow Yelm Library Board members and I are here tonight to not only to give our annual Library report to the City, we are here to raise questions to you members of the City Council and the Greater Yelm Community about the future of a Library in Yelm beyond the current Yelm Timberland Librarys lease expiration date of July, 2012.
While John Thompson [City Council member & then Prairie Park Manager] raised this issue at a Fall 2007 Council Meeting and there was a discussion in one of your Study Sessions and recent Retreat, we are here tonight to bring this issue into the public forum. Further, Mr. McGowan is an employee of TRL, so two members of this Council have a vested interest in this discussion.
The Timberland Regional Library gave the city an exemption for 10 years in 2002 to operate in the Prairie Park (PP) complex and building owned by Margaret Clapp, whose corporate manager is John Thompson. Obviously, PP wants to know the citys intention to continue the building lease for a library beyond 2012, as they want to look for a new tenant(s) if the library is not going to continue there. Further, they have notified their intent to substantially raise the payment of the monthly lease, in which they gave the city quite a favorable rate in 2002. As you know, the State recently notified the city regarding the citys practice of collecting tax money for use of a public facility being housed in a private building as being improper, so continuing a lease in PP may not be an option considering the States notification, along with the likelihood of a substantial rate increase in the existing lease. Additionally, TRL would be hard pressed to grant Yelm another exemption to operate a library in a private facility, as the other 18 jurisdictions in the TRL five-county region are all required to be in public facilities. Some of these cities have expressed their concerns about the favoritism granted Yelm on this issue. The only other anomaly in Timberland is Montesano. The W.H. Abel Library in Montesano was a gift to the former Grays Harbor County Library. The title to the building was permanently transferred to TRL when the District was established.
With 4 years before a planned move needs to be in the final stages, the City of Yelm has no land and/or structure put forth in which to house a Library. Given the short lead-time to acquire land, plan, construct and move, TRL and your Yelm Library Board are letting you know we believe Yelms Library facility beyond 2012 should be recognized as a priority issue by the City Council and the residents of the Yelm area.
While TRL is a committed partner with the greater Yelm community by being willing to pay the full cost of financial/site analysis, a feasibility study, financial considerations, 50% of architectural services up to the point where the project is ready to go to bidders, interior design costs and TRL professional support for developing the new library (i.e. physical plan), they can only do so if and when the City has committed to funding the purchase of land for a public Library facility and set aside resources for its share of professional architectural services.
Once there is a commitment from the public and City Council to purchase land for a Library, the TRL Foundation (TRLF) can work with the city to provide data as to how much can the city employ from other financing sources, cost of project vs. dollars raised information and assistance in requesting donated/discounted land from developers or private individuals. TRL and the TRLF can also begin working with financial donors to solicit funds for construction, furnishings and equipment once there is a commitment from Yelm.
Bottom line: Your Yelm Library Board and TRL officials are standing before you tonight to raise the red flag about the future of the Yelm Timberland Library. We wish to work in partnership with the City to assure that this future includes this valuable community resource. A monumental project such as this requires the combined efforts of city officials, the resources of TRL and the citizens of the greater Yelm community. The Yelm Library Board and TRL are ready to start the process needed to create a permanent Library facility as soon as the Citys commitment has been demonstrated.
Yelm Library Advisory Board
Steve Klein, Chair
Kristen Blalack, Librarian
Then Library Advisory Board member Ronni Nutter asked to have her name removed from the Board Letter saying she thought the Board’s role was not to tell the city and council what to do about the Library.
This was the mandate on the city’s website about the Library Board’s function:
“The Yelm Library Advisory Board makes studies, reports, and recommendations and serves as an advisory body to the Mayor and City Council in all matters relative to the need for acquisition, utilization, care, maintenance and disposition of the library building or buildings and all property or equipment pertaining to or associated with library purposes which is or is intended to be owned by the City of Yelm.”