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