Council gives OK for Mount Shasta Library to proceed with expansion

Giovanni Lamanna
Many community members attended the April 10 Mount Shasta City Council Meeting to show their support for the local library. By Giovanni Lamanna

The April 10 Mount Shasta City Council meeting was standing room only as 53 community members attended to show support for the Mount Shasta Library and hear presentations by librarian Courtney Laverty and Dennis Johnson, the vice chairman of the Library Tax Advisory Committee.

LTAC and Laverty were directed by Council to move forward with their plans to expand the existing library with a 4,000 square-foot addition.

The Council also unanimously approved a resolution regarding the Proposition 218 deployment strategy required prior to increasing utility rates, denied a Special Event Permit Fee waiver request for this year’s Earth Day event, and approved two resolutions related to the prohibition of unpermitted operations outside the current marijuana dispensary ordinance.

Courtney Laverty spoke about what an ordinary day in the library looks like: “If you were to peek in on any of the 1,080 hours that we were open in 2016, you would see all kinds of activity – people reading the newspaper, people checking their emails, filling out job applications, updating movie scripts, organizing digital music files, and all other sorts of activities on public computers,” she said. “You’ll see patrons checking out books, audio books, DVDs, and magazines; kids doing their homework or playing games on the Chrome Books; but let’s be honest, they are most likely playing games. You would see moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas reading books to their little ones. You would see patrons connecting to the Wi-Fi on their own devices to do work either in the library or out in the parking lot. With 17,570 visits to the library already this year, any number of things might be happening when you come by for a visit.”

Laverty said the library’s maximum occupancy is rated at 44 people. “We are rubbing up against that number on a daily basis,” she said. After the expansion, the new building would double that maximum occupancy to around 88 people.

“We clearly need the bigger building to accommodate our current usage, let alone expand our offerings,” said Laverty.

Dennis Johnson said the library is a place to meet for many people and organizations around the area. The library needs more space so these face-to-face meetings and contact are possible.

LTAC has come up with a plan to double the size of the library. The addition would stretch out the back of the current library. The plans show that the expansion is only connected by the roof and is separate from the current building.

Johnson said, “By the time we start building next spring, we will have about $400,000 in the tax revenue that we can use to build the actual structure.”

He said the library is looking for community support throughout the expansion process.

Council member Barbara Wagner noted that something she had said about technology at the library had led to a rumor that the city was planning to move towards a digital library.

“It is incredible to see this much community support,” said Council member Paul Engstrom. “I can’t see the Library going any other way other than where the people want it to go.”

The Council directed city staff and LTAC to move forward and begin the process and planning necessary to approve the building of the addition.