Headline: Keystone branch, bigger Breck facility could be in cards for library system’s future
Group laying out next 5 to 10 years of county library plans
SUMMIT COUNTY – Six years ago, the Breckenridge library moved out of its cramped confines at Colorado Mountain College into the then-luxurious 3,500-square-foot space of the new north branch library.
Today, those quarters have become almost as tight as the old 950-square-foot CMC site.
“We never have multiple copies of a title over there because we don’t have the space to keep them,” said library director Joyce Dierauer. “We knew at the time we were not building a space that would last forever, but we were hoping to make it last 10 years.”
Expanding that site is just one of the possibilities the library board and its stakeholders’ committee is considering for the next five to 10 years of the county library system. Also on the list is the possibility of a library in the Keystone/Summit Cove area, upgrading the system’s technological services, and consideration for the system’s future if services must be cut.
“We have to know both ways, when times are good and when times are bad,” Dierauer said. “Do we have less hours? Fewer materials we would buy? Could it be programming? I just don’t know, but those are the things that are out there we’d have to look at.”
The library board first began a serious evaluation of its future a decade ago, when its goals were to build three new library buildings to replace aging facilities in Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne. All three of those facilities have since been completed.
“With the end of that 10-year plan, we decided it was time to take another look,” said library board president Chris Yuhas, “to see what needs exist in the county that the library can actually work with and meet the needs of the community for the next five to 10 years. That could be new facilities, more electronic services, expanded facilities.”
A community group of several interested citizens, called the stakeholders’ committee, is helping determine what those needs are. The group, working with the library board, is formalizing a plan that it will present to the Summit Board of County Commissioners in October.
“We’ve got some people who feel we’re underserved in the Keystone/Summit Cove area,” Dierauer said, “and there’s also some concern we built the Breckenridge branch too small to start with.”
But the limited space of the Breckenridge library was a known factor from Day One. Plans always have called for an eventual expansion. The tentative idea now is to expand north onto a piece of land on which the county now has a lease/purchase agreement and will own next year.
“If we could make it at least as big as Silverthorne, that would certainly help,” said Dierauer, referring to the 7,000-square-foot north branch library. “That would be double what it is right now.”
It also would include a meeting room, which Silverthorne has and Breckenridge lacks.
Adding a Keystone-area library branch poses other challenges. Building another branch would require purchasing books, computer and other materials.
But a Keystone/Summit Cove branch, Dierauer said, makes sense “since that’s where a number of our year-round residents live.”
“It would have to come from our current library fund, which basically is enough to cover what we do now,” Dierauer said. “Or it goes to something like another mill levy retention.
“We know money is a problem right now in the county. We’ll have to wait and see how things come out, whether sales tax revenues increase or the economy turns around. No one knows right now.”
A capital improvements mill levy used to fund construction projects – among them the County Commons – is slated to sunset in 2004. An extension of that property tax is one way to fund such projects, commissioners said.
Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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