Reader: Time for expansion is now

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2007

The Kenai Community Library is a wonderful service and resource for the city of Kenai residents, as well as numerous patrons outside the city limits. Members of this extended community continue to take advantage of the many programs offered: five different types of story hours weekly, introductory computer classes, book review clubs, Second Sunday stories by the Kenai Performers, summer reading program and many other special events, presentations and programs.

The library staff members are dedicated professionals and work hard to deliver programs that are of interest and value to the community. They have had programs that dealt with community mental health issues, senior citizen issues (i.e. Alzheimer's disease), specialized children programs, guest lecturers and more.

As a result of their fine efforts, space for the programs and resources provided through the library has not been adequate for some time, and an expansion has been a goal for the Friends of the Library for years.

Through Friends of the Kenai Community Library, the greater community continues to support and fund library materials and programs and a building fund. The annual book sale, annual raffle and other activities help to promote the library and generate funds for the many programs provided by the staff of the library. But that is not enough.

On Oct. 2, if voters approve, Kenai Bond Proposition 2 allows the city to sell bonds for $2 million toward an expansion of the library. Additional funding needed for expansion would come from other sources.

Estimates for a minimum expansion (10,000 square feet) are in the range of $5.3 million and an expansion (17,000 square feet) that would meet the need in 2027 are in the range of $10-13 million.

Yes, this is a lot of money, but it probably won't get any cheaper. In 1996, a bond proposition for $2.5 million was to have funded 16,000 square feet. Now is the time to vote "Yes" for Proposition 2.

And, yes, I serve on the Kenai Advisory Library Commission (for many years) and also am an officer of the Friends of the Kenai Community Library (member since 1973). Am I biased? You bet.

Kathy Heus


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