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Library seeks capital improvements

Council to vote on capital plan at April 23 meeting

Last month, 63,000 items were checked out of the West Linn Public Library. Where all those people parked remains a mystery.

Finding a place to park has been a challenge at the library for nearly a decade. The library sees up to 600 people a day on weekends and close to 700 a day during the week.

With just 32 spots, parking at the library is a challenge no matter the time or day. This year, the city aims to create additional parking to address the shortage.

Using the county's library district capital funds, the city purchased property at 5750 Hood St. for $203,000 in 2011 to expand the parking lot, which will create another 10 to 13 spaces.

In 2008, libraries across the county were each allotted $1 million of capital with the formation of the Clackamas County Library District. West Linn's distribution of the funding came in 2010.

The estimated cost of constructing the parking lot is $250,000. Because building a parking lot will not cost the entire $1 million, the library has asked the city council to support some additional projects.

'There are some other needs at the library,' City Manager Chris Jordan said.

Though parking is a top priority, the library also has a leaking roof that needs to be repaired. The estimated cost of repairs is $175,000.

'It really is time to focus on cleaning that up,' Library Director Diane Satchwell told the city council during its Monday work session.

She also cited the need for a backup generator at the library, which is estimated to cost $90,000.

With so much technology in the building, security is also a concern for Satchwell. The library would like to add gates for building security, a cost of about $60,000, and a book security system for $200,000.

The book security system would place a radio device in each book that would allow for quick and secure checking in and out of items. As 54 percent of items are checked out via the self-service desk, Satchwell said the system would be greatly beneficial.

The creation of a technology lab to store and check in and out items such as electronic readers also made the wish list at about $15,500.

Satchwell said there has been high demand for a technology lab, and the library staff has been writing grants and seeking funding.

'We need the security system and a secure place to store items,' Satchwell said.

The city council is expected to vote on the library capital plan at its April 23 meeting.

'The security system, in my mind, is probably the one critical piece I'd like to see happen,' City Councilor Mike Jones said.

The land-use process for the parking lot will begin with the Bolton Neighborhood Association meeting in late May. According to Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt, the land-use process will continue into the summer with the goal of starting construction this fall.