John Ebright: A better process to pick a new library |

John Ebright: A better process to pick a new library

John Ebright

It appears Breckenridge Town Council has already made a decision to build the new library in the old CMC building. This decision seems to have been made without proper planning and without any ability for the public to make comments and with little information on the cost of retrofitting CMC.

The planning process for a new library should be similar to building a new school, as many of the visitors to the library will be school-age children.

It appears council’s logic for building the library at CMC is: Breckenridge needs a 10,000 square-foot library; CMC has 10,000 sf available; therefore, build the library in the CMC building. Council also seems to be thinking that it needs to find a use for the building, so why not make it a library. Rather, council should be establishing user requirements needed for a library, compile options with cost estimates and then make a decision.

I suggest the following process be used in planing for a new library. (This process is very similar to the one used by the new highly acclaimed Sam Gary Library in Denver):

1. Appoint a committee of library staff, user, consultants and TOB staff to make site visits to new libraries, prepare user requirements, hold public meetings, etc.

2. Recommend user requirements. Gary Library had these categories: building character, site, interior environment, sustainability and technology.

3. Select options that meet criteria and prepare preliminary cost estimates

4. Make recommendation to council.

Currently there are two options for the new library: build it at a cost to the TOB of $500,000 (county/grants are $3 million) and retrofitting CMC at a cost to the TOB of $4.5 million. The TOB needs to explain what the TOB is receiving for the difference in cost.

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