Friday, November 16, 2007

Rooftop Garden Planned

The people of Nampa love to garden. We enjoy the space for growing things and changing our perspective. One of the fabulous ideas for green building that we are considering for our new library is a rooftop garden. Many libraries have these and they provide an opportunity for quiet reading and exploration, fresh air and views. Nampans who attended the 2007 forums and design workshop liked the idea, as a part of their desired library experience and as smart planning.

Practical considerations determine the type of plantings - raised beds, low maintenance, and requiring minimal water (xeriscape). Plants could be selected from native plants and labeled to provide educational opportunities. A planted roof and patio provide seasonal color, a setting for public art, and a possible place for book signings, book club meetings or children’s events.

These pictures were taken at the rooftop garden of the Salt Lake City Public Library this past summer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Public Art – Breaking News!

The Nampa City Council voted Monday, November 5, 2007 to establish a volunteer arts commission. Seven members will be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. Part of the charge to the commission is to establish guidelines. Rhea Allen is quoted in the Idaho Press Tribune as saying the focus will be public art, which Nampa needs. The new library building will have numerous opportunities for public art, and the new commission will be a wonderful partner in commissioning or selecting artwork. It will be an asset when we prepare grant applications and fundraising opportunities. Public art consists of more than statues and murals; it can include beautiful donor recognition walls, functional yet creative bike racks, window designs, or children’s furnishings. Our spring 2007 contest resulted in several ideas for reading tree houses, alphabet chairs, and castle spaces from our own Nampa youth.
~Karen Ganske

Monday, October 1, 2007

Where will the new library be located?

The City is negotiating with landowners in the historic downtown area to buy land for our new facility. Those negotiations are going well, and we expect things to be complete within the next four months. The locations won’t be disclosed until agreements with all the landowners are complete. Publicity about the locations could complicate those negotiations and would compromise the privacy of those landowners. The City hopes to finalize negotiations and announce the location in early 2008.
When will work begin? After the land is purchased, the project will be put out to bid and must be designed by an architect. The City hopes to break ground in December, 2008, with the building finished in 2010. - Dan Black

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Several patrons have asked how the city will pay for a new library. In late 2006, the City Council adopted an Urban Renewal District, which provides funding for redevelopment efforts. The plan calls for investing about $36 million in a new library, the cornerstone of a downtown redevelopment effort. Other aspects include a new police headquarters, green space, parking garages and streetscapes. About $80 million of public investment will generate an estimated $325 million in private investment downtown over the next decade. The plan also provides industrial infrastructure such as sewer and water service to attract employers and jobs on Nampa’s northwest side. The funding mechanism, Urban Renewal, is a tool that focuses tax revenue from new development toward the project. It does not raise taxes. It simply dedicates new tax revenue toward projects that aid the local economy.
- Dan Black

Friday, August 10, 2007

Parking--Good news

As Summer Reading concludes many customers are breathing a sigh of relief since parking will be more readily available. Some numbers to consider: on Saturday June 2, 2007 (Summer Reading Kickoff) there were 2252 customers who exited our building; during July there were 15 days of the 25 we were open that had more than 1200 customers. Where did you park? Were you able to get one of our 16 existing parking spaces? Did you park on the street? Did you ride your bicycle or skateboard? Did you walk? Did you park in the auxiliary parking across the street? We’re so glad you battled parking to visit us and spend some time here!

Even though the parking situation seems grim, there is good news. The new building proposal includes a parking garage that will be adjacent to the building and will have lots of parking spaces! It is our goal to have these spaces free of charge for our customers.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Spaces for Teens

Teens are excited and so are we! Nampa Public Library’s teen group, T.A.L.K., is off to a great start and they have already contributed many ideas for new programming and the new building. In some of the community forums teen spaces were discussed and include cool things like display areas, comfy seating and places to visit.

Here are some pictures I took at the Salt Lake Public Library that made me think of the spaces we’ll have for our teens.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fresh Ideas!

Three NPL librarians attended the 2007 conference of the American Library Association, and each brought back ideas for a new building as well as ideas for improved services. They returned with books. They brought back flyers and brochures about library furnishings and equipment. They made contacts with vendors. They took notes at programs about library services and facilities.

A few quotes about library buildings from their reports:
· Browsing activities should be seen from the street – seeing other people looking at books draws other people into the library.
· A library is important as ‘people space,’ similar in some ways to a bookstore.
· Images showed children’s spaces featuring lots of curves and flow, and one showed an outdoor garden for children.
· Signage and graphics were extremely important to give people a feeling of empowerment.
· Clear clutter and improve basic cleanliness, which is very important to customers.
· A cafĂ© or coffee shop connects people to the library.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wifi at the Library?

You bet! Wifi technology is planned for the new library building and it should be robust and accessible in all of the planned nooks and comfy seating. Imagine being able to read your email from anywhere in the library with your own computer. Not only will you have access to all of your own materials but it will free up the public internet computers for more people. Of course, we plan to have even more public internet access computers in the new space—it will be a great place to work and explore!

Even better--Nampa Public Library started a pilot Wireless Internet program in our current building. Several of our customers have already found the new service useful. So when you see someone using the internet on a laptop—they are probably using wifi!

To learn more about wifi click here .

Friday, July 6, 2007

Shhh! We want QUIET!

Library enthusiasts at public forums and other discussions see-sawed on the question of quiet spaces versus reasonably noisy spaces. The conclusion was always that Nampa needs both, and our new library should have room for both kinds of library environment. People should be comfortable using normal ‘inside’ voices in high traffic areas and children’s or teen areas, and those who want a very quiet place should be able to enjoy a quiet reading/study lounge – without cell phones. Requests for quiet areas came from the teen focus group as well as the general ones! If you prefer a very quiet environment in which to read and study, look forward to a glass enclosed area with a view! The building program calls for a quiet reading room, with six lounge chairs and 12 individual study tables. Preliminary sketches have a gas fireplace in the reading room.

Karen Ganske

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Unsung heroes helped lay foundation for a new library

Longtime Library Board members Ed Schiller and Laurene Stanford were honored Thursday night at Nampa’s premier downtown block party. They helped envision the new library and worked hard toward its creation. On behalf of the existing Library Board of Trustees, Mayor Tom Dale presented engraved bookends that express appreciation for their service.
“Their contributions have helped make the Nampa Public Library a vibrant cultural hub of the city,” Dale said before the event.
The Downtown Nampa Nights features live music, hot food and beverages every Thursday night, a festive venue for briefly recognizing community accomplishments.
Schiller, who served on the Library Board from 1988 to 2006, is secretary for the Downtown Nampa Association and can be seen serving up beer or hot dogs at the back of the crowd and in front of his law office. The presentation was a surprise.
Schiller served 18 years on the board that oversaw dramatic improvements at the Library including establishing the online catalogue, public computers, courier service to other libraries, the strategic plan, committee for a new library and the electronic system for self-checkout.
Stanford served on the board from 1997 to 2007 and was a leader in the early stages of preparing for a new building. She was instrumental in improving communication between the library and local schools, developing evaluations for the library director and strategic planning. She is still an active volunteer.
The Library Board decided recently to honor both former members for their outstanding contributions.
Library Director Karen Ganske said both “served with great distinction, offering countless hours to the library and never failing to support its mission.”
“Ed served a partial term plus three five-year terms,” said Ganske, which is “unprecedented in modern times.”

Friday, June 22, 2007

Teens contribute to library plans & services!

Our community teens are fabulous! They help run the summer reading program by volunteering their time and labor to various programs. Our teens take the time to tell us what is on their minds by submitting purchase requests and asking questions.

While at a preconference for the American library Association Conference in Washington DC today I found that again and again our teens are valuable resources who help move our services forward and keep us up-to-date. Our teens can help lead the way to the new world of technology.

So what are we doing for our teens? We want to provide more opportunities for teens to make a difference in the library. Our first Teen group started a few weeks ago and will have its second meeting next week on June 26th at 4PM. Our teens will help determine (and provide) programs for teens. Our teens will help create/conceptualize the new Teen Space at the new library. Our teens rock and it will be great to help create a space and programming for them in our new building!

Space for Friends

The building program for the new library includes a Friends of the Library sales area of 230 square feet right off the beautiful spacious entrance lobby, including display shelving, a display case, and donation station. It also calls for a Friends Workroom of 650 square feet. Imagine being an active member of this group and having work space that includes a computer, work table with 4 chairs, 10 double faced sections of shelving to organize donations, a counter with a sink and microwave. This vision is a far cry from the leftover bits of unfinished basement vault area that they must work in now! These spaces are planned for because Friends members were involved in brainstorming sessions for the new library. Join the Friends of Nampa Public Library now and help enliven this future space. Friends are busy planning for their August book sale, writing their Summer Newsletter, and redesigning their membership structure and form. Last year they donated $10,000 for children’s furnishings in the new library, and they are building towards another large donation. Find membership information and book sale dates on the library website.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Performance and Program Space Desperately Needed

Just yesterday during the reptile Thursday Family Program several people expressed enthusiasm for the new library and all of its anticipated available spaces. We had over 487 attendees and were mostly wall-to-wall (to-aquarium). We had 7 presenters and many reptiles which would have loved to be spread out for more viewing access.

The anticipated adjacent plaza will extend our potential service area year round and will create more program options such as a storytime in the park, more Summer Reading Kickoff Party space as well as performance and display areas for the Thursday Family Programs.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Window Seats, nooks and special views

Several of our wonderful contest entries brought me a vivid memory from my childhood. Essays mentioned “Cozy window seats,” “Soft window seats,” “Beanbag chairs and window seats,” and “in a window seat reading National Geographic KIDS.” Other entries described views from a new library. Many young people and adults wrote about having variety of spaces within a library that are perfect for encounters with books that enrich our lives.

When I was young Mom took me to the downtown Pasadena Public Library once a week, before our neighborhood branch was built and I could walk to the library. My own special spot downtown was a window seat in the children’s stacks near the folklore section. The ‘view’ was a green cave formed by overgrown shrubbery outside. The smell was warm and dusty. With the big books by Howard Pyle about Robin Hood or the Knights of the Round Table, I would read in the window seat for hours, enjoying my own special place and strengthening my sense of adventure and my imagination.

Karen Ganske

Friday, June 1, 2007


We have heard positive comments about the possibilities for a new Nampa library on a daily basis for years, but there was a definite increase in the ‘buzz’ when renderings were published showing the full-block plaza, city hall and retail stores right next to the library. For some people, it was the plaza across the street that finally got them excited and eager to see the entire project move forward, asking where, when, and ‘how can we help?”
“The best type of public spaces are ones where various activities are combined or triangulated. My favorite hypothetical example is a square that has a library and a coffee shop. The library has a children's reading room that's next to a playground, at the edge of which is a coffee shop for parents. In front of the library you'd have a square, for weekly markets, seasonal events, art shows, performances.” - Fred Kent
Read more about how synergy works with downtown libraries at: or here.
- Karen Ganske

Friday, May 25, 2007

How Green can we make our new library?

A news article earlier this month starts “Nampa officials are considering adopting green building standards they say will make future city buildings more efficient to maintain and healthier for people and the environment.” What would a LEED rating for a new library mean? I always knew it had to do with environmental concerns, but now I know it also means more natural light, better heating and cooling, more comfortable spaces and healthier air. There would be savings for the taxpayer on electricity (it can take plenty to light, heat and cool this building, and still be too hot or cold, with dim stack areas and uncomfortable glare on computer screens). For employees it means better staff retention, fewer health issues, and more productivity. For everyone it will mean a more comfortable building and doing the right thing for our community. I’m looking forward to hearing what comes next with LEED plans.
Karen Ganske

Friday, May 18, 2007

Shelving in the Library

I had a great conversation with a patron the other day. She said she was frustrated she couldn’t reach the top shelves of the videos and books. I told her I have been challenged by our shelving and have seen others struggling as well. She also said it’s tough to see titles and reach them on the bottom shelves. She expressed this concern not just for herself but for all of our differently-abled customers. We talked while the new shelving for videos was installed and I pointed out the bottom shelves at an angle. She said she’d like to see more of those angled shelves in the new building as well as the elimination of bottom and high shelving. Thanks for the great input! Imagine when we have more space and can spread the collection out!

Friday, May 11, 2007

To sip, or not to sip...

Community members have given some great ideas about how a coffee shop might be integrated into the plan for a new library. People told us they want to have beverages and snacks available in the library, but not in a prominent way. During the design workshop, a retail business owner explained that a successful operation will have to be on the street to capture pedestrians. It’s also possible for the shop to have a window to the inside of the library, but most of its frontage be on the street. It was clear people wanted any retail to be subdued, and not intrude on the main public space. We’ll pass those comments on so they can be included in the Requests for Proposals from developers later this summer.
- Dan Black

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Community makes a statement

An aggressive effort to gather public comment on a new library wrapped up last week.
The Nampa City Council and the Library Board toured the nationally-acclaimed Salt Lake City Public Library on Wednesday and had detailed and probing discussions on what to do and what to avoid. On Thursday, 27 community members spent all day at a design workshop putting down their ideas at the Nampa Civic Center. These efforts capped seven community forums, a design contest and e-mail correspondence that all tried to answer the question, "What do you want in a new library?" The comments were compliled into a report that will help direct a search for a developer and architect to build the library.
From all this discussion we have learned that people cherish a library not only as a place to get books, magazines, CDs and movies, but for a public meeting place, a quiet meditative place, a place where an individual encounters society, culture, art and the community.
This process has been very helpful for the Nampa community and its leaders. It appears Nampa residents and their leaders have a much clearer idea about what sort of library is right for Nampa.
Dan Black
Library Community Relations Coordinator

You bet libraries count!

Last week was crammed full of new ideas and images for a new Nampa Public Library. At the end of a busy week, I discoverd the April issue of the "Making Places Newsletter," which spoke to several big questions facing Nampa right now. Several library-related articles were chock full of great ideas. The lead article begins: "The creation of the information superhighway threatened to make libraries obsolete, but today they are as prominent as ever. Libraries are taking on a larger civic role, redefining themselves as community centers for the 21st Century."
The old model of the library was the inward-focused "reading room." The new one is more like a community "front porch." Check it out here or at
- Karen Ganske
Library Director

Friday, April 20, 2007


Spaceships, tree houses and castles dominated about 50 entries in a contest held by the Nampa Public Library this spring.

We asked for ideas on a new library. Entries ranged from original art and floor plans to essays and poems. Winning entries can be viewed here.

The first-place winners were given high-end MP3 players. Those and other prizes were presented at the annual Friends of the Library meeting, held in conjunction with a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, April 17 at 6:45 to gather more comments about what people want from a new library.

The winning adult entry came from Lance McGrath, who wrote a poem simply called, “Library.”
It begins:
“Library. Likeable and trustworthy repository of information.
Stories stream forth from pages of limitless capacity.
Wisdom – stored and faithfully tended- is shared with a new generation.
Insatiable curiosity of young and old alike calls them to a new space for an old friend.”

Other entries had magnificent details such as a tree house, castle and escalator taking books behind encased glass. Those images were presented by the artwork of Katherine Yancey, who won first place in the children’s division. Other images include a detailed floor plan for a library that serves walk-in clients on the bottom floor and those who use their card to check out materials on the upper floor.
Comments from community forums and contest entries will be represented in a report to an architect that will draw up specifications for the library. Prizes were donated by the Goicoechea Law Firm, the Friends of the Library and Flying M Coffee Garage.

The winners include:

Adult Division:
First Place, MP3 Player, Lance McGrath.
Judges’ comments of poem: “Great rhythm. Vivid imagery. Very fresh.”
Second place, $50 gift certificate, Mary Portteus.
“Very creative. Great use of recycled materials, images and color.”
Third Place $25 gift certificate, Susan Kramer.
Comments on floor plan: “Very interesting ideas. Skillfully represented.”

Youth Division:
First Place, MP3 Player, Kathryn Carole While
“Fun tale. Brightly written.”
Second Place, $50 gift certificate, Chris Chaffin
“Clean and inviting picture. Good use of perspective.”
Third Place - none

Children’s Division: Art
First Place, MP3 Player, Katherine Yancey
“This just had everything.” Great color, use of space, a tree house, castle.”
Second Place, $50 gift certificate, Andrew Seeley
“Very imaginative artwork. Great letters as chairs.”
Third Place, $25 gift certificate, Zack Yancey
“Great spaceship library!”

Children’s Division: Essay
First Place, Book, Katherine Yancey
Judges’ comments: “Great imagination and descriptive detail. Lots of fun to read and has many great ideas.”
Second Place, $50 Simon McKenzie
“Nice writing. Fun and fast-paced.”
Third Place, $25, Hannah Diane White
“Great storytelling. Very original with twists and turns. The message comes through at the end.”

For more information, Contact Dan Black at 468-5824

Friday, April 6, 2007

Some Great Ideas

People have diverse hopes for a new library. We have gathered them from community forums and comment boxes around town. The most common request is for more computers. The library currently has 9 and some preliminary plans indicate a need for 63. Another common theme is adequate parking. We have 16 spaces and the plan is for more than 200.
Among all the comments, I’m most impressed with how personally people take their library experience. It’s not enough to simply get materials, they said. People look for a convenient experience that is enriching. Patrons have a high regard for the well-trained staff and they want to make sure the building design takes service into account. Some people want a help desk on each floor and to make sure the maintenance budget is strong enough to keep a new building looking good.
There were many comments asking for a children’s reading area and for special areas such as homework tables, meeting rooms and a quiet zone. My personal favorite comment on Tuesday came from a man who liked one library that has a large stone hearth fireplace. He said you can sit there with a book and it feels warm and comfy. You are in a public space, with high ceilings, but it feels personal and private, as well. Other comments ask for a snack shop, aquarium, better elevators, wireless Internet, public art, etc. Forums continue the next couple weeks.
Be sure to share your ideas either at the forums or through correspondence here on the blog. These comments will be turned over to an architect who will create the design for the new building.
- Dan Black

Friday, March 30, 2007

Breaking Down Barriers

Wheelchairs barely make it around the Nampa Public Library. The historic buildings were remodeled to hold shelves and a little reading space, not provide easy access to older folks and those in wheelchairs. A tiny elevator gets a wheelchair to the second floor, but that floor is split level and another small elevator serves as a bridge. The tight layout throws up barriers everywhere. Perhaps the biggest problem for handicapped accessibility is the bathrooms. From my office window last week I saw a man who appeared in his early 30’s pull up in a wheelchair and repeatedly try to open the bathroom door. He struggled, finally pulling himself off his chair and inching his way inside the small restroom. I didn’t know what to do. Should I lend a hand? Does this happen often? Would my help be welcome? As the only bathroom on the main floor, I’m sure many others in wheelchairs have faced a similar situation. I left work that day more convinced than ever that a new building needs to serve all Nampans, particularly those who have to struggle to get around.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Public will help influence design

Visions of a new library are taking shape.
A series of forums will help gather public opinion that will help influence design options for a new library. The Library Board visited other communities last year and heard that a successful project needs the creativity, concerns, and excitement of people who will use the building. How else will the new facility reflect the unique needs of the Nampa community?
I will gather public comments at some community forums over the next several weeks and I invite you to attend or sound off in the blog. All comments will be considered in a final report for the architects. Please attend if you can:
Noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, March 27, (Library basement)
Noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, (Library basement)
Noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, (Library basement)
Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, (Library basement)
7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, April 17 (City Hall)
Noon to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 21. (Library basement)
- Dan Black, Nampa Public Library Community Relations Coordinator

Exciting times are here!

Welcome to Library Sketchbook, the blog about the Nampa Public Library’s new building. We want to tell you what’s happening as Nampa moves closer to building a new library.
I look forward to introducing building topics and moderating discussion. I’ll also relay what’s happening in this process to community groups and through updates to the media.
Why a new library? The old one is in a grand, historic building, but it lacks parking, access for those with disabilities, rooms for meetings, doing homework, or enough places for computers or casual reading. Nor is there enough room for the collections of books, movies, music and other materials to serve a community this size. In fact, the 23,500-square-feet building is only one-third the size it should be, according to national standards. The Library Board and the City of Nampa have committed to a new library. There are some large private donations to help out and the community is genuinely committed to the project. Check back for updates and feel free to respond.
- Dan Black, Nampa Public Library Community Relations Coordinator