As you’ve probably already heard, we are expanding! Our wonderful Friends of the Fort Bragg Library purchased the property just to the north of us at 421 Whipple St to allow us to stretch our wings.
Since the passage of Measure A, where citizens of Mendocino County resoundingly approved increased funding for our county libraries, Fort Bragg’s usage has steadily grown. In 2010, when stats were first recorded, the amount of programs we offered were, on average, about 115 per year. In 2016, we are averaging over 400 programs a year and adding more and more each month, an increase of nearly three hundred and fifty percent. Additionally, internet use has gone from 900 a month to over 1200 a month and our foot traffic has increased a whopping forty-seven percent, from 6800 in 2010 to over 10,000 visitors a month in 2016. Our average check-outs have gone from 11,000 a month to nearly 14,000. We’ve increased our DVD base by adding thousands of new titles, we’ve added several hundred music CDs, purchase 100+ new books a month and are gearing up to launch our new Seed Library. Given these numbers, it’s clear we are busting at the seams and in dire need of a larger facility or an expansion of the current one to accommodate all this growth.
Our current building was remodeled as a joint county and Friends effort in 2003 and since that time, we’ve had to accommodate our usage growth by creatively re-arranging our interior space. With the ever expanding needs of our growing community, we are looking to increase services to our patrons that would include:
- more computer stations
- a classroom with emphasis on instruction and job workshops
- more community meeting and one on one meeting room space
- a quiet area for those who like to read in peace
- a larger children’s area where they can play and grow
- a teen space where teens can safely read, do homework, play video games, work on projects or just hang out
- off street parking with increased handicap spaces for those with special needs
- more shelf space for our ever increasing collections
The expansion is still in its infancy but with the acquisition of the Whipple St property, the prospect for growth is now a reality and the possibilities are endless. The lot is 150 x 75 feet which doubles our potential for additions, parking or even a whole new facility.
But, we’re only in the first phase and looking at the long road ahead, a road filled with planning, fundraising, and hard work, we need to roll up our sleeves and get started. The first step is cleaning out the buildings then removal of structures and grading of the property.
The Friends of the Fort Bragg Library have started the clean-up and would welcome any and all help the community can provide. If you’ve got some free time, give us a holler and we’ll put you to work. You can reach us at FFBLnews@gmail.com or leave your name and number at the library and we’ll give you a call.
For now, we’ll use the page Fort Bragg Library Expansion as our information zone so check back often to get updates on what we’re doing, what we need and how you can help. Whether it be physical or financial, it all helps.
Meanwhile, we’ll see you at the library!