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Sauk City Library presents conceptual designs before board


November 22, 2018

The Sauk City Library presented conceptual designs to a proposed addition to the current library to the Sauk City Village Board on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The presentation started off with Sauk City Library board president, Ben Miller explaining why the library was looking to expand. “We’ve been discussing this [expansion] as a library board for 10-12 years and it’s been on our agenda every month for the last year.”

“We’ve always thought that we don’t want to expand, to expand,” Miller continued. “We want to make sure that the timing is right and we believe that now is the right time to expand and to do this for the Village.”

Library director, Emily Judd went on to explain that the library is currently reaching capacity on programing. “We had 305 children programs and 142 adult programs last year.” She also went on to say, “The library has about 35 outside groups meeting each month in our space besides the programs that we offer.”

The group presenting went on to talk about the limited seating upstairs, how the shelves are very full and that the staff area is very cramped and it provides no privacy.

Moving on to the conceptual designs, Miller said, “If you look at our conceptual site plan, one of the things we wanted to address was parking. We would be looking at adding 32 stalls with this conceptual plan along with the addition to the library.” The goal is to ease some of the pressure of parking on that side of town. Miller also asked that the Village think about making the future library parking lot municipal which would mean the library and the Village would share the costs to maintaining the parking lot.

“We tried to utilize the current library space before deciding on expansion,” said Miller. “Emily has a done a fantastic job of using the [current] space to its maximum potential, she’s reorganized and changed things around but what we saw was that it wasn’t enough. We needed to do a bigger project then just moving things around.”

The new space would also allow for better security and line of sight for staff, currently there are a lot of blind spots that staff cannot see. The addition would also allow the library to block off space at night allowing for more after hours programs with a smaller number of staff while still securing the building.

Some of the other additions with the conceptual designs include an active children’s space, a book drop in the parking lot, 126 seat programming area, an elevator, more area for staff, an office for the library director, a reading area for adults, three study rooms and more space for smaller groups to use the library space. “We work closely with the Sauk Prairie Literacy Council and they use our library for both adult literacy and English as a second language programs and we think the small study rooms would be more comfortable and give the tutors and students more privacy,” Miller continued.

Currently, the library has wheelchair access to each floor but not the ability to go in between each floor and with the addition of an elevator, wheelchairs will have easy access to go in between floors without having to leave the building.

The Village board asked if the library would see a large increase in costs and Miller went on to explain that the library board has been looking into it and will continue to retain most of the workspace on one floor which will keep costs low. Staffing continues to be the biggest expense of the library budget at 70%. “Because of the nature of what we do, people are our biggest asset. When we looked at our budget we did increase staffing a little bit by adding more full time staff and less part time which will get us there,” said Miller.

In terms of electricity and heating there will be an increase due to an increase of space, explained Miller but the library board is looking into solar panels and other things that could be cost savings down the road. “But we don’t see any massive increases in terms of expenditure,” said Miller.

The library is ready to move forward with engaging outside fundraisers and their goal is to not to ask the Village Board to contribute to the project. “We’ve been very blessed financially with donations from people within the Village and we don’t think we are being good stewards of money that has been donated to the library by sitting on it,” said Miller. “I think we should be benefitting the community by using the donations that have been given to the library to better the community. We now have a good plan and good sound to move forward with the project.”

The total cost of the project is estimated to come in at just under $3 million dollars. One Sauk City Village board member did mention that they wish the library would have looked at other options that would have also included some multi-use space included with the addition of the library.

At the end of the meeting the board gave an informal approval for the library to move forward with raising the funds and Miller said the library would give the Village Board bi-monthly updates on their progress.


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