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East Wenatchee considers a new library

A group of library supporters has asked the East Wenatchee City Council to build a new public library.

The group spoke to the council at its April 16 meeting, saying the current 1,000-square-foot library inside City Hall is not large enough to accommodate community needs.

“I would encourage you to place a new public library building at the top of your strategic plan,” said Deborah Moore, who offered to serve on city library committee.

She said 24,000 people visited the library last year, including 214 children and teens who signed up for the Summer Reading Program. But the space isn’t large enough to hold regular programs and events.

She also read a letter from longtime community advocates Gene and Carol Sharratt voicing their support for a new library.

Calum McNiel, a 12-year-old resident of East Wenatchee, also addressed the council, saying he participates in STEM Club and Chess Club at Wenatchee Public Library and checks out most of his books from the larger library.

Angela Morris, director of public services for NCRL, said the library district is “enthusiastically supportive of a new and larger library in East Wenatchee.”

She said efforts to build new library spaces in Quincy and Chelan in recent years resulted in higher numbers of books and other materials being checked out, more families attending events at the libraries, and more use of public computers and free wifi at those branches.

“A larger library that offers even more resources can improve people’s lives,” she said. “We look forward to working along side you. We will provide the right-sized collection, staffing and innovative programming for all ages.”

Councilman Chuck Johnson suggested to the council that they consider setting aside $250,000 a year for a new library until they have about half the money, then apply for grants to fund the rest.

“I think it would be a great jewel for East Wenatchee,” he said.

Mayor  Steve Lacy said the city has already started the process of adding a new library to its strategic plan. The city recently purchased property adjacent to City Hall for a library.

“I think this is at the forefront of everybody’s minds,” he said, adding, “We couldn’t agree more with the importance of a [new] library.”

 

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