The Library’s Board of Trustees heard the concerns of the Village Board and the community loud and clear when its first plans were unveiled. The Board went back to the drawing board and cut $3 million from its original plans. We’re now looking at a dig-once opportunity so improvements can be made and the Library can serve the community well into the future.
There’s no doubt that the Scarsdale Public Library is well used and is a good investment of our tax dollars. In fact, the value of the Library’s programs and services in 2015 is $8,751,162. The public service return on investment (value divided by local municipal funding) is $2.39.
Let’s protect our investment and improve the Scarsdale Public Library.
The building, while quaint and well-loved, is no longer adequate for the community’s needs. It is not ADA compliant which means those in wheelchairs or with physical disabilities cannot use the entire building. The bathrooms are very difficult to navigate for anyone in a wheelchair. Without an elevator, anyone with mobility issues cannot easily use the mezzanine or access the administrative offices.
The building’s wiring dates back to the early 1970’s. Coupled with the fact that the main room is built on a concrete slab, it is nearly impossible to retrofit or update our electrical service and provide the community with its growing technology needs.
Additionally, the building is not adequate to meet community demand. Our two meeting rooms are booked to capacity which means the Library turns community groups away who need a place to meet and has to limit our own popular programs.
There are no small group areas for students or other groups and the children’s room is too small for the amount of use it gets. In fact, despite 13,500 children attending 346 programs in 2015, we still have to turn children away because of our space constraints. Our teens have no dedicated space of their own and there is no comfortable, quiet reading space for working and retired adults.
In its current state, the building needs over $4.5M in repairs.
We cannot and should not take a band aid approach to improving the Library. The Library’s Improvement Plan is an opportunity for Scarsdale to come together and make a positive difference for all of us.