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Can you imagine a new LO library?

Imagine a new library: Vote yes on Measure No. 3-405.

The citizens of Lake Oswego have the opportunity to make this happen. Our city is a great place to live with its excellent schools, many parks and trees, and the No.1 library in Oregon.

You might think that we don’t need a new library when we are ranked No.1 in the state. Wrong.

Our library has already slipped in its national ranking due to its size limiting the number of books and materials necessary to serve more than 1,000 visitors per day who come to the library. When a new book is added some other book has to be discarded. This library is too small and cannot be expanded in its present location.

Our library lacks adequate restroom facilities; sub-flooring failures are an ongoing problem; bookshelves are not braced to seismic standards; airflow does not meet ventilation standards and there are chronic roof leaks. Electric panels are at full capacity. There is a serious shortage of space for staff and more than 500 volunteers who handle thousands of books and other materials daily.

Critics say that libraries are becoming obsolete. This is not true, according to the American Library Association, which reports that library usage is up around the United States. More citizens per capita have library cards than ever before. In Clackamas County, we have seen new libraries built, libraries remodeled and enlarged. Even small Yacolt, Wash., just built its first city library using the old city jail.

In Lake Oswego, more than 90 percent of the people have library cards, which is why the library is the most heavily used public building in the city. Our library is one of Lake Oswego’s most important assets.

Imagine a new library with room for all the books and media; imagine a children’s room large enough so families aren’t turned away from popular programs; imagine a teen area, study rooms and rooms for tutoring; imagine a new library for the entire family —seniors down to toddlers.

Approval of Measure No 3-405 will allow the city to issue a $14 million general obligation bond to be used only to fund the new library. This bond measure would cost most households about $50 per year. There are some bonds ($11 million) we’re paying on now that will be paid off about the time the library bond ($14 million) would kick in so our payments on bonds may not go up even that much. Now is the right time to build a new library.

I urge you to vote yes on Measure No. 3-405 to fund a new library for Lake Oswego. Check out the website NewLakeOswegoLibrary.org for more information. The future of Lake Oswego Library depends on you.

Terry Huber is president of the Friends of Lake Oswego Public Library.