SANDPOINT — The Sandpoint Library’s remodel and expansion project, dubbed “Your Library Transformation,” is gaining speed and library officials said the design phase is complete and bids are currently being taken for the project. The bid deadline is 3 p.m. today, March 16.
Contracts will be awarded in late March or early April with groundbreaking to start this spring, as determined by the contractor.
The project is the physical manifestation of a shift in the way the local community views the public library, said Marcy Timblin, public relations specialist for the East Bonner County Library District. No longer a mere book lending service, the library is the center of learning and community engagement.
“The truth is, the library has been transforming for years. The building just needs to catch up,” Timblin said..
The 10,000 square foot expansion and remodel will feature an expanded children’s area, young adult book section, large-print collection and community meeting venue. A new technology center, teen lounge, makerspace and reading room will be added. The new space will also accommodate the need for designated quiet zones and social areas, as well as a fire suppression system, increased parking and landscaped green areas.
The Sandpoint Branch Library was built in 2000 with a 20-year capacity. In its 17th year, usage is beyond capacity and it is not equipped to provide services that the community has indicated a need for. The decision to expand was born of public comment, usage data, surveys and focus groups. Aspects of the design came about in like manner, as staff and trustees sought to respond the public need with materials, services and programs that target issues unique to our community.
The library district has opted to fund the project through grants, corporate partnerships and voluntary contributions rather than a public bond. A large portion of the funds needed will come from the sale of the former library building and over $50,000 has been awarded through grants alone in the last six months. Library personnel and trustees aim to make the project and the new space an expression of the community’s support of the library. To that end, donor recognition benefits are available to individuals, businesses and organizations who contribute $5 to $30,000. Details are posted on the library’s website, ebonnerlibrary.org.
Another way that the project is gaining support from the community is through the Rotary Club of Sandpoint’s interest in the project. A Novel Night – A Rotary Gala Benefiting the Sandpoint Library Transformation takes place on Saturday, May 6 with live and silent auctions, an elegant meal catered by Tango Cafe´, entertainment and a special appearance by a renowned author, editor and publisher, Jennifer Leo. Attendees are invited to dress or accessorize as their favorite book character. Over 30 different nonprofits are supporting the event by donating for the silent auction themed gift baskets that tell the story of their organization. Local businesses and individuals have donated time, talent and items for the auctions and event support, while others are supporting as event sponsors. Tickets and sponsor information are available at NovelNightGala.org.
“The Rotary Club of Sandpoint is pleased to be working with the library on planning and hosting this event. It is thrilling to see so many people coming out to have a part in supporting the event and the library,” said Dyno Wahl, Club President. “We chose this project for our big fundraiser this year because it aligns perfectly with our mission to serve others and our local focus on literacy and youth.”
Proceeds from the event will go toward the Rotary Club of Sandpoint’s sponsorship of the new teen lounge inside the library.
“Right now, we don’t have much to offer teens in the way of space inside the library. When they come here after school, the main place they have to congregate is in the lobby. We are really looking forward to creating space, materials and programs for young people, based on what they have indicated to us that they would value most,” said Ann Nichols, Library Director.
The Library is also participating in Idaho Gives this year, which falls on Thursday, May 4 – just a few days before the gala event.