Progress Update

Well the application for the Department of Commerce and Regional Affairs Library Construction and Major Expansion matching grant is on the jet, Gold Streaking to Anchorage.  Now comes the waiting period.  We expect applicant libraries will be notified sometime in June or July 2012 if their application has been accepted.  Let's keep all our fingers crossed.

The Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries, Staff of the Juneau Public Libraries, MRV Architects and CBJ Engineering would like to thank everyone who attended this fall's events as we put the design phase in high gear to meet the November 8th deadline (2 months earlier than previous year's deadlines).  It was great to hear directly from members of the community, in-person, on the blog and on the hundreds of "post-it" comments on the architectural drawings on display.   Your suggestions have directly shaped the conceptual drawings that were submitted with the grant application and we look forward to further opportunities to gather together and make this library a beautiful and highly used cultural treasure in the heart of the Mendenhall Valley.

Here are some pictures of your "post-it" comments as well as some from the Design Review on 10/24.  Be sure to check out the latest drawings which include 3D elevations.


Open House: Design Review

The Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries announce:
Open House: New Valley Library, 
Monday October 24th

5:30 pm @ Mendenhall Valley Library.

Refreshments and light supper provided

What makes a great library? Public insight, vision and support are needed to answer this important question. Come make this library your own. The event will showcase and discuss design options, the grant process, and community needs for a new library. In today's economy libraries are more important than ever and books are only half the story.

If you missed the Design Options Workshop, here's another chance.  We'll catch people up on project background, current conceptual drawings, community input and refinements and talk about the community involvement that will be needed to make this new library a reality.  Come take part in shaping a beautiful, functional library and community space in the heart of the Valley.

Please look at the designs now on display at the libraries and submit your comments here or in person at your neighborhood library.  All comments received will be forwarded to the architects for consideration in this design phase.  This will be the final public input session on the conceptual plan for the new library before we submit the grant application.  As we move forward in the new year, there will be many additional opportunities to influence the design.

Resolution Passed by Assembly

We made it over another hurdle!  The CBJ Assembly approved Resolution 2590 authorizing The Manager To Submit To The Alaska Department Of Commerce, Community, And Economic Development An Application For A Library Construction And Major Expansion Matching Grant For Construction Of A Valley Branch Library At Dimond Park.   

Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting and to all those who worked the phones beforehand.  There was a great turnout of library friends in the chambers and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions at the next public meeting on Monday October 24th, 5:30 at the Valley Library.  Now it's time to get the grant writing wrapped up!    


Resolution sent to Assembly

Yesterday, the CBJ Assembly’s Public Works and Facilities Committee sent the resolution to the full panel for approval.  

Applying for the grant now doesn’t commit the city to the project. The assembly will vote on the resolution next Monday, October 17th at 7pm in Assembly Chambers.  Public Comment and Testimony will be taken.  

Jeff Vogt, President of the Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries commented at the meeting, “If we let this slip by our fear is that instead of looking at a 7-million dollar project to the city – of which the Friends have already committed a million at least – if we let this slip by at this point in time it could slip by for a long, long time.”   

It has been a long-standing goal of the Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries as well as of the staff at the Juneau Public Libraries to find a permanent, city owned home for the Mendenhall Valley Branch since it moved into its first leased (temporary) location at the Mendenhall Mall in 1983.


Public Works & Facilities Committee Meeting

·         The Public Works and Facilities Committee meeting (at noon on Monday in the Assembly chambers) will review the resolution that approves submitting a library construction grant application to DCED and then vote on whether to send the resolution forward to the whole Assembly at their October 17th meeting.


Article in Empire

Valley library taking shape, readying to seek state funding

Cost could be $13-15M

The preliminary plans for a new Mendenhall Valley library were presented Wednesday evening, showing three concepts with a price range of $13 million to $15 million. 
MRV Architects and Library Director Barbara Berg showed the initial plans as they will be seeking approval from the city’s Public Works Department and its Assembly to submit a grant application to the state. The project could receive 50 percent of its funds from the state. The city’s 50 percent of the project cost could include land value and private donations. Berg said the city’s financial contribution would have to be 20 percent, and that would come via temporary 1 percent sales tax funds, if approved by voters.


Design Options Workshop October 5th

Design Options Workshop 
Wednesday October 5th from 6-8 pm
Riverbend Elementary School Library

MRV architects, CBJ Engineering and Library Staff will host a design options workshop to showcase, discuss and refine the current options.  Come learn about the New Valley Library Project and discuss the 3 design options, weigh in on the pros and cons of each and help shape the future of this exciting project. Public insight, vision and feedback is necessary, come make this library your own.  If you are interested in shaping library services in the Valley please take the time to participate at an upcoming public meeting (listed in upcoming events) or submit a comment to any post on this blog, here (please put "New Valley Library" in subject line) or in person at your neighborhood public library.

Here are 3 preliminary design options and the overall site plan.  Full drawings are on display at the Valley Library.


Frequently Asked Questions- New Valley Library

Answers to a handful of questions that certainly need to be addressed.
·         A purpose-built library would be able to control access to the facility outside of mall hours.
o        Evening programs for teens and adults are not successful at the current Valley library, because they must start at the dinner hour and conclude early so that everyone is out of the building by 8 p.m. This means that programs such as family movie nights and evening author programs can only be held downtown or in Douglas, when the largest population lives in the Valley.
o        Public meetings that last beyond the current 8 p.m. closing time for the mall cannot be held in the current facility.
·         A purpose-built library  would have spaces designed to serve many groups of users more effectively:
o        Dedicated spaces for teen users that would allow them to socialize while using the library without disturbing others.
o        Kid-scale facilities for preschoolers and elementary age children that would them to be active and move around while enjoying storytelling, music, and crafts.
o        Quiet reading and study spaces for adults separate from computers, teens, and little ones.
o        Meeting rooms designed to accommodate both large meetings and small study groups, to allow more bookings at times of high demand, and to incorporate audio and video teleconferencing.
o        Computer activities could be placed throughout the facility, and not be constrained by inconvenient and unchangeable placement of outlets and electrical panels.
·         The Valley library currently accounts for 65% of summer reading program activity and 45% of circulation of kid’s books, yet it only has room to house 33% of the system collection of juvenile books.  At the very least, the Valley collections should be equal with those downtown.  The Valley deserves better.
·         It is true that many information resources and books are now electronic, and the library purchases many electronic resources for the Juneau public that can be accessed in the library or from home.  The library is often the first place that people come to learn to use electronic resources, and it serves those who cannot afford to maintain a computer and internet connection at home.
·         Books are still important as well, especially in fulfilling the library’s important role in early literacy.  The library serves as the preschoolers’ door to learning and reading readiness.  It also offers resources for life-long learners of all ages.
·         The library fulfills an important community and civic role as well as a place where people can access online government information, apply for their PFD’s , find current legal information, and much more.  It also serves as a place where people and groups can gather and exchange ideas.
·         Juneau is a 25-mile-long city and we have very bad weather in the winter.  In order to be used and give the best service, libraries need to be near where people live and be easily accessible to them.
·         The Douglas Library is older than the Juneau library.  When it joined the system at borough unification, it already served as an important hub for the community of Douglas.  It continues to fill that role.
·         The downtown library will continue to serve as the administrative center for the Juneau Public Libraries and provide support activities for the branches.  While the new Valley library will house more activities, such as those serving children and youth, it will still be a branch library.  It would have to be many times larger if it were to take on all of the collections and functions of the downtown library.
·         A library on the Dimond site has been part of city plans since 1983 when voters approved a temporary sales tax measure to acquire the area for CBJ use.  The library continues to be included as part of the community complex in the Dimond Park master plan. The library moved to the mall in 1983 as a temporary location until a new library could be built.
·         By 2014, the city will have spent $6.7 Million  in 2010 dollars on rent for the mall facility.
·         The mall is expanding its office space component and other tenant base extensively.
·         The library will be highly visible to all at the Dimond location.  It will be a welcoming heart for Valley activities, sited directly on Riverside Drive, on the bike path and on a proposed new bus route serving the Thunder Mountain High School and Dimond complex.  There will be synergies of use with the two schools and with the pool, making Dimond Park a destination for many leisure activities.
·         The library will be safer to access on foot  or bus at Dimond, since crossing the parking lot at the mall on foot is dangerous and the bus stop involves crossing a busy road at an uncontrolled crossing.
·         The Dimond site has been the preferred site since 1983.    The city and Friends of the Library briefly considered a site across Egan Expressway behind the Faith Lutheran Church, but it had problems with road access and with wetland characteristics of part of the site.
·         In 2008 the Legislature authorized 50% matching grants for library construction.  Ten Alaska communities have already received funding or a funding commitment from the State to build or expand their libraries.  After 2013, the number of library projects in development drops off considerably. Continued funding of the grants is much less likely once the perceived need has been met. Building a new valley library now is an opportunity that may not come again for many years, or even decades.
·         The Friends of the Library and the Library Endowment Board have been working toward the goal of a new valley library for many years.  Both have put aside significant funding toward furnishing and equipping a new facility.

·         The cost of construction of standalone public library of 21,000 gross square feet has been estimated by the CBJ Engineering Department to range between $13 M and $15.4 M, depending on inflation factors and the timing of construction.
·         With state reimbursement of 50%, the local cost would be between $6.5 M and $7.5 M.
·         The local contribution can include the value of the land, local fundraising, and foundation grant funding.
·         The city’s contribution must be 20% of the total construction costs, but bonding is not required.
·         A new library would be more energy efficient than the current Juneau and Douglas libraries.  It would be more operationally efficient than the current Valley library.  Preliminary operations and maintenance costs show savings over projected costs for a comparable leased facility.


Open House on New Valley Library Building

Friends of the Library Annual Meeting &
Open House for the New Valley Library

Saturday, September 24, 2011, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m (Business Meeting) and 3:45 to 5:00 (Open House) at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library.

The Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries will hold their annual business meeting followed by an Open House on the New Valley Library at 3:45.  Members of the public are welcome to attend both meetings or join us at 3:45 for the open house with MRV. Only members of the Friends of Juneau Public Libraries are eligible to vote at the annual meeting. If you would like to join Friends, please plan to arrive a few minutes early.

Please join your friends and neighbors who are working to support Juneau Public Libraries and its programs.

The agenda includes:

Election of Board Members;
Presentation of proposed revised bylaws. View bylaws with mark-up.
Presentation of the preliminary annual financial report;
Approval of organizational objectives for the coming year;
Approval of a preliminary proposed budget for the coming year; and
Additional member comments.

Following the business meeting beginning at 3:45:

Open House Meeting on New Valley Library Building

With representatives from MRV Architects. MRV has been hired by CBJ to help prepare the city’s application for state construction grant funds for a new library building in the Valley. Your input is needed. MRV will present their ideas and take your comments and thoughts. Please attend if you have an interest in how library services are delivered in the Valley.