Donna Pierce hired as Project Manager

To help ensure the success of the New Valley Library project at Dimond Park, the CBJ Manager’s office has hired  Donna Pierce to serve as a part-time Project Manager to keep the library project on track. Donna will advocate for the needs of library staff and programs in the design of the new building. She will be starting in her new position this month, and will continue to serve until bid award, expected to occur in January of 2014.

Outgoing Library Director Barbara Berg and Pierce will meet intensively during the next couple of months to bring her up to speed on the design process so far. Throughout the next phase of the project, Donna will meet with library staff, the new Library Director, the engineering project manager, and the architect as much as is needed and will help facilitate public meetings. Barbara Berg speaking on behalf of Pierce said, "I can assure you all that the project will be in the best possible hands. Donna has offered her support and advice toward achieving a new Valley library since 1983, and she is as eager as any of us to see that the best possible library is built.”


Thank You Juneau!

The Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries as well as the Staff of the Juneau Public Libraries would like to thank Juneau voters for their support at this year's Municipal Election!  With the passing of Proposition 2, the final piece of local funding has been put in place for the construction of the New Valley Library!

We look  forward to working with the community as the project moves forward into the next stages of design.  This site will continue to track project progress so check back soon.


Library is Community!

Did you know that…?

  •       Over 23,000 Juneauites hold library cards.  Total library visits last year in Juneau were over 300,000, with the Valley accounting for over half of those visits.

  •       The square footage per patron in the Valley is one of the smallest in the whole state.  Our new design provides a right-sized library.
  •       1 out of every 4 people attended a meeting in one of Juneau’s Public Libraries last year.  There were many times that people had to be turned away.  The new Mendenhall Valley Library will offer a mix of large and small meeting rooms.

    Help us build a new library for the Mendenhall Valley!
    Please join us in voting YES on the 1% sales tax.


Let’s have fun at the Library!

This week’s bookmark facts are about kids.   The Friends of the JPL organization provides financial support for many library programs for youth including the Summer Reading Program and author visits.

Did you know that…?

  • The Mendenhall Mall Library serves 61% of the Juneau youth population but has the least space available for youth activities of all the libraries.


  • The library provides an average of 10 youth and family related activities each month. All of these activities are free!


  • The new valley library will have dedicated space for young children and teens separate from each other and from adult areas.


Help us build a new library for the Mendenhall Valley!

Please join us in voting YES on the 1% sales tax.


The importance of meeting space; and an important meeting

The Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries board is producing a series of bookmarks highlighting the many reasons we believe that a new library building is right for the Valley.  We are making these available at our Amazing Bookstore and at other events around town. 

One such upcoming event is our annual meeting, Saturday, September 15th at 3pm at the Downtown Public Library. This is an open meeting. We invite you to attend.

Speaking of meetings, this week’s bookmark highlights the important role the new library will play as a community meeting space.  Here are the facts:
Did you know that…?

  •  More than 190 different organizations used the Mendenhall Valley Library meeting space last year.
  •  The new Mendenhall Valley Library will offer large and small meeting rooms, with adjustable heating and lighting, and more flexible hours.
  •  The new library at Dimond Park will make this area a true community center for Juneau’s most populated neighborhood.

Help us make Dimond Park a place to exercise your body and your mind. The library is free, and it’s for everyone.

Please join us in voting YES on the 1% sales tax.


Thank you, CBJ Assembly

Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries thanks the members of the CBJ Assembly for including the new Valley library on the list of projects to be partially funded with the special 1% sales tax.

 We are grateful to have this proposal sent to the voters on October 2nd.  

Through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers at the Amazing Book Store, Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries has raised over 1 million dollars for construction of a new library. 

Look for us at the Food Festival this Saturday, September 1st at the JACC.  We will be handing out stickers and bookmarks to support the new Valley library project.  Here is a sampling of the compelling facts we are highlighting on our bookmarks:

        Did you know that…?

  • By 2014 the city will have paid more than $6.5 million in today’s dollars for rent for at the mall.

  • The library pays more for rent in the mall than it does for books, computers, and supplies for all three Juneau Public Libraries.

  • That rent in the mall has increased 14%, but the library’s total budget increased only 1% since 2009.

  • The new library will save operating costs by not paying rent.

Help us build a new library for the Mendenhall Valley!
Please join us in voting YES on the 1% sales tax.


Getting Closer to a New Valley Library

On Monday July 2nd the Assembly Public Works Finance Committee forwarded its list of recommended projects to be funded by the 1% Sales Tax renewal and the Dimond Park Library was included on the list at the fully requested funding level!  The Assembly will meet on Monday July 16th to review the 1% Project list as well as the separate $25M Bond issue and to begin to work out details of both measures that will go on the ballot for the October 2nd Regular Municipal Election.   We are excited to have the library project on the list along with some other great community projects that we hope voters will be happy to get behind and support at the ballot box.

The Empire ran a few stories on the process, stay tuned for further details.

Library a big winner in Finance Committee wrangling...(7.4.12)


Highlights About the Dimond Park Library Project

Substantial Funding is in Place.  

The Timing of the Project is Critical

If the city does not provide a match for the DCED grant funds, the $7 Million will be lost.
The state grant requires that substantial continuing progress be made on the project in order to retain grant funds, which must be fully expended within 5 years from July 1, 2012.
Due to construction lead times there is a relatively small window for starting the project so that it can be completed within the five year time frame required by the grant.
To meet these deadlines, the new library must be included on this year’s sales tax ballot.

The Library Serves All of Juneau

The Valley is the busiest of all of the Juneau Public Libraries.

23,029 (74%) of Juneau’s population hold Juneau Public Libraries cards.  – Valley registrations are 49% of the total.
Public libraries visits totaled 334,400 last year. With 184,000 (55%) visits make the Valley library the busiest branch, despite the large number of summer visitors downtown.
The Valley library directly serves an area that is home to 56% of  the Juneau population.
Valley population of children under age 5 is 61% of the Juneau total and the valley population of K-12 age children and teens is also 61%.
More than 190 organizations used the Valley meeting space in the past year, and this number increases every year.
The Valley library has the least space per user served of  any of the libraries in Juneau .

The New Library Will Save the City Money

There are high operating costs for remaining in the mall location.

By the end of the current 3-year lease, the city will have spent more than $6,500,000* on rent since the Valley Library opened in the mall in 1983.
Annual rent  will be $198,000 in FY13 and $204,000 in FY14, and rising every year.
Since FY08 the rent for the mall space has increased 21%--far more than the rate of inflation.
Beginning in FY13, the amount of rent each year will be more than is spent on books, computers, subscriptions, online resources and supplies for all three libraries.
When budgets must be reduced, the library must cut hours and resources that directly serve the public, while the rent has continues to increase. This is at the expense of all the libraries, not just the Valley.

* 2010 dollars. Statistical Abstract of the United States.  Actual = $4,916,134

The new library will save operating costs.

The new library will be staffed at the same level as the existing Valley Library.
The new library will be energy efficient.
Utilities and maintenance that are now included in the rent will increase at a rate that is less than the rate of increase in rent payments. This difference will be greater over time.
The new library is projected to save $30,000 - $40,000 per year in operating expenses over the cost of operating the rental facility.

Valley Library users in their own words:
“The value of libraries lies as much in creating public spaces and building communities as it does in lending books and providing information.  More and more places require you to pay a fee, or at least spend money, before you are welcome.  In a library, you are welcome regardless of who you are or whether you have money to spend.  You are equally welcome to come through the door for whatever reason brings you there.
“It’s hard to use just a few words or sentences to express my feelings about a real Valley Library-not a shop in the mall- well maybe that says it all. It doesn't feel like a library to me. I've been waiting for the Valley Library since shortly after I moved here in 1989. I wanted a Valley library even more when I found that all the money being paid out was not staying in town. “
“It is long overdue and I was surprised (and dismayed) at how much  money the city has paid in rent to the mall since 1983 (over $6.5  million dollars!). It only makes sense for the Valley Library to have  its own space. …  It will be wonderful to have a true community library whose hours are not tied to the mall's hours.” 


$7 Million Grant Approved!

On Monday May 14th Gov. Parnell signed the 2013 Alaska Capital Budget granting a $7 million New Library Construction Grant for building a new library in the Mendenhall Valley!  This is a major milestone on our march to a new library and represents half the project's total cost.

To date, the Friends of the Juneau Public Library have committed to $1 million for the project, the Library Endowment has committed $300,000 and the CBJ has donated the building site at Dimond Park, valued at $1 million.

That leaves $4.7 million to make this project a reality.  The New Valley Library is requesting the remaining project costs be funded from the CBJ Temporary 1% Sales Tax up for renewal this October.  The Assembly Public Works Finance Committee will hear project presentations from all competing projects on Wednesday June 13th at 5:30 in Assembly Chambers.  Please come out and show your support for this project and for libraries in Juneau!    


Library Grant makes Draft Capital Budget

The New Mendenhall Valley Library project along with new library projects for North Pole, Sitka and Talkeetna made it into the draft Capital Budget (p.26)!

Next step, make it through adoption by full legislature and Gov. Parnell.  Keep your fingers crossed Valley Library supporters, thanks for all your calls and letters to your representatives.

While this funding would mark a huge step in the right direction for our project we still have a long way to go with local fundraising and community support of a 1% CBJ sales tax extension on the October ballot to provide matching funds for the state grant.


Our New Valley Library Needs your Support

[From the Friends of JPL March Newsletter]

No doubt you have heard of the push underway to finally give a permanent home to the Valley Library,
which would be located in Dimond Park.  There are two hurdles that must first be overcome:

  1. Secure grant funding for half of the project costs from the State under the Public Library Construction Grant Program 
  2. Become successful in having the New Valley Library Project added to the next 1% CBJ Special Project Sales Tax bundle and the subsequent passing of said bundle on the ballot in the fall
Our current “temporary” facility has been located in rented space in the mall since 1983.   Over that
time frame the City has paid more than $6.5 million dollars in rent.  Although the population of the
Mendenhall Valley has more than doubled in that time, the library has only 300 more square feet than
it did 29 years ago.

The facility has no outside entrance, limiting library access to mall hours and reducing programming options. The facility is only minimally ADA compliant.  Lighting, electrical and structural deficiencies limit collection size, programming space, and placement of technology.
Construction of a city-owned library in the Mendenhall Valley has been a community goal since the
early 1980’s.  Land has been designated for a library on the Dimond Park site since the city first purchased the site. The Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries and the Juneau Public Library Endowment Fund have committed $1.3 million to this project. If you have the opportunity, please speak of your support for this project to CBJ Assembly members and State Legislators.

Jeff Vogt 
President, Friends Board

Track Senate Bill 160 (SB160) the Alaska Capital Budget which will determine final funding for the Library Construction and Major Expansion Grant.

Alaska Library Association: Advocacy and Legislative Priorities

AK State Legislators: Juneau
Sen. Egan
Rep. Kerttula
Rep. Munoz

CBJ Assembly, contact 


1% Sales Tax Project List Growing...

Friends of the Library President, Jeff Vogt and JPL Director, Barbara Berg gave a presentation and fielded questions from the Assembly's Public Works and Facilities Committee on Monday.  The Library is one of ~12 projects seeking funding from the temporary 1% sales tax often referred to as a project fund.  The sales tax has the potential to raise $ 8 million a year totaling over $40 million over the five year term and the Assembly will have the final say in which projects go to the ballot in the fall of 2012.  KTOO News covered the story, take a listen.

The New Valley Library project is seeking a maximum of $4.7 million to serve as a local match to the State of Alaska Library Construction Matching Grant.  To date the Friends of the Library have committed at least $1 million and the Library Endowment, $300,000.  Currently the library will pay $200,000 in rent at the Mendenhall Mall in FY13.  By 2014, the city will have spent $6.7 Million  in 2010 dollars on rent for the mall facility.