Originally posted September 27, 2018
5 local Timberland Regional Library locations could close as part of a Proposed Capital Facilities Plan.
In a proposed plan from Timberland Regional Library, multiple changes could come to the Grays Harbor and Pacific County library system. They say that a “reimagined library” could be coming to the region after TRL has “reached the point where revenues are not keeping up with expenditures”.
In an executive summary, TRL states that changes are needed.
They add that the way people use libraries is changing, and the system needs to adjust to accommodate these changes.
In budget and use forecasts, they say that while Thurston and Mason counties will likely see some growth in their local user base, projections for Grays Harbor and Pacific counties show little to no population growth.
Proposed changes include a number of closures, mergers, and enhancements in each region TRL serves.
Regional changes include adding LibraryExpress locations, described as “coffee-stand style service” instead of an entire building that would allow people to pick up and return books or park and take advantage of 24/7 WiFi, the use of “Open+ Expanded Access” that would allow patrons to use services in the remaining locations without staff being on-hand, possibly doubling their hours, or “Remote Lockers” at various sites that could be used as a drop-off/pick-up for books and other items ordered through the libraries, “Mobile Services” creating a series of travelling library vehicles, and other options.
In Grays Harbor, the proposed plan would close the Hoquiam, Montesano, Oakville, and Amanda Park libraries and merge services with other facilities. This could include adding LibraryExpress or Remote Lockers in their place.
TRL says that with changes over the last 20 years, they have become over-staffed, and this presents a challenge.
While they expect to adjust staffing, they are also planning for improvements at local sites,
For Aberdeen, they say that the site “already operates essentially as a full-service hub location for West Grays Harbor” and it could grow to provide a range of services. The plan says that the Hoquiam library could combine, consolidating services with Aberdeen, and allow for an increase in services “such as programming and outreach” due to a reduction in staffing needs. Amanda Park is also slated for closure and sale, with their needs being met out of the Aberdeen hub.
The Hoquiam library is currently undergoing the latest in a number of upgrades and repairs, and TRL notes this.
The Montesano library would be up for closure and consolidation with Elma, creating an East Grays Harbor hub, utilizing funds from the sale of the Montesano building to begin construction of a larger facility that could handle the needs of the surrounding area. The Oakville library could also close, consolidating services between Elma and Centralia, and vacating this location.
The South Bend library is the only Pacific County library slated for a closure as they would combine with Raymond and vacate their building. TRL states that the duplication between Raymond and South Bend is unneeded, and the historic Carnegie library “is currently closed due to an overabundance of caution regarding lead paint, mold, and asbestos in the building”.
Combining some services between Ocean Park and Ilwaco are also suggested, but not included in full mergers.
In the place of a full library in Hoquiam, Montesano, Oakville, Amanda Park, and South Bend they suggest that a Library Express, Remote Lockers, or mobile service may be able to provide limited resources to the areas for residents who cannot reach a hub.
While the plan proposes some drastic changes to the local libraries, TRL says that they hope residents can bear with them as they work through options.