Northfield City Council considers $1 million library renovations - Northfield MN: Local

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Northfield City Council considers $1 million library renovations

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 9:53 pm | Updated: 3:58 pm, Mon Mar 31, 2014.

(Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the proper spelling of Noah Cashman's name.)

The Northfield City Council weighed a proposal during its work session from the Northfield Public Library to renovate its space.

Library Board Chair Charlotte Carlson said the project is about working with the library’s resources for community needs, not just about revamping the building’s space.

“Rather than being driven by space as the goal, [our project] is driven by these core values that resonate with the mission of the library, and a sensible approach to the resource we currently have in the building, and looking forward,” Carlson said.

Library Director Teresa Jensen added the three main goals of the project were based on flexibility, accessibility and efficiency.

She pointed out several problems with the library’s current design, such as the cramped working space librarians need to share and the difficulty for some people to climb the library’s steps. She added that the library’s computers take up a lot of space, and the tight book aisles are difficult to navigate for people in wheelchairs.

While board members acknowledged the library building doesn’t have much space to expand, they said many of the project goals could be met through proper design of the workspace. Some suggestions included putting children’s areas shelves on wheels so the area could be rearranged for programming and redoing the front desk area for a better use of the space.

Fellow Library Board member Noah Cashman said the board is looking for $1 million from the city and hoping to supplement those funds with another $300,000 of Library gift funds.

Mayor Dana Graham said this budget is more doable than a previously proposed project that would have allocated $8-10 million for library renovations.

“I’m in support of this project, and personally I would support this up to the million dollars,” he said. He added, though, that the million dollar mark would need to be the limit and would need to include contingencies.

Cashman assured the council that the board thoroughly researched the project and has no plans to spend anything more than the $1.3 million.

“We’re not interested in going past that amount,” he said.

Carlson said the board hopes to start the project by April 1 and complete it by fall 2015. To ensure a speedy timeline, she asked the council to approve the funds as soon as possible.

“In order to do that, a lot has to be done very quickly, and we need to keep this project very much under control,” she said. “We feel very strongly as a board that this project can be done on time, in budget and stay within in the scope of the project.”

City councilors requested more information before making their decisions, but several voiced support of the project. They will vote on the proposed funds at a later meeting.

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  • steakholder posted at 12:55 pm on Tue, Apr 1, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    3 different polls showed 75% -80% of people said we should scrap the tiger trail. That's 75% of the Tiger Trail polls.

    In the poll you mention, 40% of people still said we should scrap the project outright.

    If the city chooses option 1` or 2, the people who supported the other option might very well decide that if they don't get their choice, we should scrap the project. That's how I feel. I'd support the cheapest option, but not any of the others.

    So now that you're confronted with the truth that the polls are extremely negative to the tiger trail, you're changing your story completely.

    After bragging about the unqualified opinions against the library remodel, ou want to qualify the tiger trail polls as only reflective of people who read the newspaper because they pan out against your point of view.

    However, before, you referred to the Northfield New poll as "the city has spoken".

    So which way do you want it?

    Do we go by the Northfield News polls, 3 out of 4 of which, 75% of which, say that over 75% of people say overwhelmingly that we should scrap the tiger trail?

    Or are you going to keep making a tortured argument that the polls which support your point of view somehow reflect all of northfield, and the ones that don't only support a few people who take the Northfield News poll?

    You can't have it one way for the Tiger Trail, and another way for the Library question, so make your choice, and let me know.

    I'm not worried about which side I'm on, I just want to know what rules you're going to play by.

  • College Student posted at 11:28 am on Tue, Apr 1, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    Do you not remember the recent poll of NNews showing major support for the Tiger Trail Option 1 and 2 and little support to scrap the project entirely! You failed to mention that because it does not go with your false claims. Like I said the poll is a tool used to show the opinons of the population that read the newspaper and the people who read the paper agree'ed We should build the Tiger trail via the poll and we should NOT throw more money on the existing library.

    Oh you must be quoting some old old poll because recent history shows that many people who answered the poll support the trail. So your clearly using your bias as you should ALWAYS use the most recent information as it's more accurate! The poll showing the options to reduce the cost are the only polls that matter because they want to change the plan to reduce the cost... I shouldn't have to explain this to you as I think your just playing dumb to try to prop up your misleading information!

    People support a on budget/reduced cost Tiger Trail AND they disagree with a expensive library expansion... sorry your on the unpopular side. If we go according to polls the outcome is not as you may try to lead others to think it is..

  • steakholder posted at 7:26 am on Tue, Apr 1, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    College student...I'll agree that we should make decisions in Northfield according to the NNews poll if you will! Sound fair to me.

    You get to go tell Jessica Peterson White that she actually lost the last election!!

    Here's a summary of the polls regarding the Tiger Trail.....

    When the project came in over budget...76% of people said we should kill the project.

    In the December poll about how people viewed the project generall, ..79% of people opposed the project!

    Do you support the tiger Trail at 3.2 million dollars? 83% of people said they oppose the project.

    I have to throw this one in also. 76% of people said Erica Zweifel's email was wrong!!


    If you were to view the NNews poll as scientific, most good polls still have an error rate of +or- 5%. With that in mind, a 40 to 50 split is pretty close to an even split.

    All of the tiger trail polls have 75% or more of people saying we should scrap the project.

    Sounds like the city has spoken. Why won't you listen?

    The Tiger Trail polls were all up in at the the 75% range saying we should scrap the project. If so many people support the tiger trail, then why is that?

    Because they know our existing infrastructure meets their current needs, and that nobody will use this trail. Why fix something that isn't broken? Overwhelmingly, residents of our town agree its a BAD idea to spend money on the TIger Trail.

    Should we build the tiger trail? The answer is a huge, monstrous, gigantic NO!


    So which way do you want it college student? Do we go by the Northfield News poll or not?

  • College Student posted at 7:17 pm on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    it's also interesting to note that according to the poll OVER 1/2 polled agree that we should not even spend 1 Million dollars on this service! If so many people are using this service why would they suggest that?

    Because they know the existing structure meets there current needs! Why fix something that is not broken? While some minor improvements could be done such as a new front desk and a few minor changes over a few years costing no more than 30,000 but overall residents of our town agree it's a BAD idea to spend 1 Million dollars on this declining service!

    While an additional 8% also agree there is not enough information about the details given on what that money is to be spent on! Sounds like they city has spoken ...

    the answer is a big fat NO!

  • College Student posted at 7:12 pm on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    First I made no comment in regards to the studies claim and I have no need to give my opinion there as you have already made up your mind. Like I said before it's not uncertain what we will be using in the next 5-10 years it's eBooks is what we will be using!!! I predict that for the most part all paper printing will cease to exist. Same thing wit most Cd's too.

    It's just better to have a digital copy vs a physical copy. The only question is how soon will the switch happen will it be 5 years 10 years or 20 years? Most likely 5-10 years and building a bigger building that will last for some 50-100 years is just a complete waste! we are building for our FUTURE, not for just right now and for our past!

    Are you really struggling to find my logic or do you just want to argue for argue sake? You wan't a expensive expansion of the Public library because you fear if we don't do it now they will go back to asking for a 10 million expansion. Also you don't seem concerned about the decreasing demand for the public library system in regards to space for physical books.

    Like I said before my area of study is business and as demand for printing decreases so will profits meaning printing prices will increase some publishers will again fold causing more increasing to costs and the death cycle of printing continues.

    Within 50 years 90% or greater of ALL books will be digital (not including the school text book industry) They discontinued making print versions of encyclopedias I don't know how you can STILL argue that the physical book industry will continue to survive let alone thrive in today's climate!

    ...and to think were all communicating and learning about current events in our city via a eNewpaper haha...

  • steakholder posted at 6:32 pm on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    College student..obviously we just plain old disagree, that's fine.

    What I find shocking is that you don't want to spend 1 million on the library, with documented use and attendance....because you say it's too uncertain what the use will be in the next 5 -10 years.

    But then you want to spend 2.4 million of tax dollars on a project that you now admit there's "little" demand for because you believe that all these people are going to stop using their cars next year if we build it?

    So are you saying the grant writers lied about the use of the trail? Because they didn't claim in the application that there would be very little use of this trail.

    It seems like you've got it backwards. Spend lots of money on a very speculative project with no evidence that it will be used at all, ever, , but don't spend any money to provide better service in a facility that has very heavy use, with no indications that use will drop off any time soon.

  • College Student posted at 5:39 pm on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    I already said a 10-30K fund to put a new coat of paint and redesign the front desk would be acceptable but that's about it! We don't need a huge addition to the public library... and we don't need a small addition either!!

    Maximize the existing space I agree there but not when your spending more than 30K in government funds!!! They want new shelf's that have wheels on the bottom fine they can use some of the existing 300,000 they got saved up ;)

    In regards to the tiger tail come on!... I will agree currently there is little demand but once again when gas prices continue to increase (not sure how you can suggest the option that IF they increase I mean if you have evidence of 99 cent gas in the future I am ALL EARS!!!!!!!) and the Mills Town Trail is completed there will be a great deal of added bikers using the bike "highway" and even our own residents will realize what a gem they have in there backyard!

    It's clear in the recent years there has been more and more growing demand for alturnative transit methods to cars! The public bus network is increasing in usage, more and more bikes are hitting the pavement every year. Sure it's just hype in your eyes but just like one city block of road is a waste of money to build... however once you factor into the network of other roads it's value and usage becomes realized.

    The Mills Town Trail is not built nor is the Tiger Trail it's hard to assume you know it's potential even before you build it... The Public Library on the other hand we know it's usage will only decrease as other options replace it (eBooks, easy Internet accessibility, and other means of information such as smart phones. People gain the information they need in other methods nowdays)

  • steakholder posted at 3:00 pm on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    College student...I'd have a lot more respect for your argument if you'd applied this kind of logic to the Tiger Trail as well.

    I never heard any concern from you as to the veracity of the claims made about what the usage of the Tiger Trail would be, but that project could be 2.5 to 3 times the cost of this project. Just lots of smiley faces from you about how wonderful the project would be.

    Are you not worried at all that fanatical supporters of the Tiger Trail might have cooked the books a bit about potential usage to make the project sound better? Apparently not.

    The numbers being used here aren't made up numbers, they are actual facts, and either way you count them, they indicate solid usage of this facility by the public.

    I realized that part of the confusion here might be because of the way the article was written. I also suspect that you did not watch the city council work session.

    I went back and watched it again, and it's very clearly stated that the solutions to the library's issues will be a combination of reworking the old space and adding new space, i.e. some sort of a small addition.

    If you had watched the work session, you would have heard that. So clearly you are misunderstanding what's being proposed here, and are generally misinformed, or you watched it, and you are just ignoring that fact.

    It's also clearly stated that an architect's expertise is needed to find out what the best way is to go about determining the mix of the two solutions in the overall plan.

    So I think your characterization of the fact that we'd be spending a million dollars just to move the front desk, and put some wheels on carts is disingenuous.

    However, when I watched the work session, both of those projects make very good sense. Apparently about half of the lower floor of the library is just empty space, i.e., the lobby, and the area in front of the desk. Having some carts on wheels allows them to be moved out of the way so the space can have multiple uses.

    I was impressed with the concept that it's far more cost effective to make better use of existing space that's poorly used, than to solve the problem only by adding space.

    I'm impressed by the fact that the board is looking both at maximizing the use of the existing space through a lot of smaller fixes, not just saying we need to build a 3 or 4 million dollar addition, while there's all this wasted space.

    It's too bad the people who drew up the Tiger Trail plan didn't approach it with a bit more of a frugal attitude instead of trying to get every bell and whistle that was wanted, but not needed to accomplish the basic goal of the project.

    Also, I think you're missing the point that some money is going to be spent on the library, one way or another. We're either going to spend a million now, or in a few years, we'll spend 10 million to double the size. At that point, I would feel like that's a complete waste of money unless someone can demonstrate that we really need that.

    I've accepted that one way or another, we're going to build some form of the Tiger Trail. Well, I think we should do the million dollar version, not the 3.5 million dollar version

    I think the library board is being very responsible by coming up with a reasonable plan for making the library more pleasant and efficient for both staff and patrons.

    It is certain that right now it gets a lot of use, and unlike the Tiger Trail, it is certain that it will continue to get a lot of use in the foreseeable future.

  • College Student posted at 2:13 pm on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    Also you want facts?

    2012 Circulation 371,000

    2013 visitors 207,246

    Not sure how they are tracking there numbers and if the BOTH are the same however they don't publicly list there yearly attendance in an easy format for residents to track for a reason! If attendance was increasing they would be announcing it in there reports about the massive increases in circulation or massive increases in visitors!

    Now I would be intrested to find out if they count every person that comes in the door in 2013 OR if they just tracked people signing into the library system or checking out a book. Either way I can smell the fishy smell from here!!!


    a link to the 10 million dollar build report, over 1 million dollars was planed for parking alone! Granted they are not pushing for this design yet, however do you not see the masive costs for a physical book system yet? The cost for residents to drive there might be what 90 cents for gas but the cost for the city to BUILD the parking spaces and the place to store the books adds to the cost too!

    Have a eBook system even if the publishers mark up the prices is by far a better way to go. There is no argument for the physical book space that stands up to reality and facts...

  • College Student posted at 1:42 pm on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    ugh... you argue that I keep changing my opinion but you do as well. First YOU argue that the future usage of the public library is still unknown... NOW you argue that there is no sign of any decrease now or in the future!..

    Which one is it steakholder? stop changing your views please while you argue them! [huh]

    It's not a matter of IF gas prices will reach that but when... If your not paying attention how other countries are providing mass transit options for the future then that's your problem I guess and would shed some light on to why you argue the wrong points anyways.... Job creators are working on a global market place and having mass transit options allows for more stability as a work place that is land locked by freeways only have less stability as a work places surrounded by more means of transit. It's building for the future because it's not like gas prices will be decreasing... if we could expect them to decrease or at least stay stable THEN public transit would not be very important.

    anyways back to the topic at hand..

    It does not help your argument that Northfield is the highest usage per capita outside of the twin cities. Usage is only expected to decline, and more affordable means of getting books to residents is already in the process. Over 2,000 eBooks already exist in Northfield's eLibrary that number should only be expanded while physical books should be reduced THEN we would have a less cluttered and less packed public space at the library! it's not rocket science... sure maybe SOME books may be at a slightly higer price for a digital version BUT less cost in storing that book, and increasing space in the library to prevent a costly expansion is also a win win win.

    I don't see how in the world you can be STILL arguing we should 1 expand the library with a small "minor" expansion in size and 2 continue to buy physical books when if in fact your right and usage is increasing well then we will only have to expand it again later down the road!

    Where is your logic on this one stakeholder? It sounds like your using your personal preference of a physical book over a eBook cloud your judgement.

  • steakholder posted at 7:50 am on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    Again, that's funny college student.

    Again, you present no evidence what so ever to support your claim that use of the library or books, is dropping or plummeting, or whatever word you used this time.

    I never said e readers are too expensive. The hardware is the cheap part.

    I specifically said that ebooks for libaries are expensive compared to regular books. Unless this cost changes, it's going to be challenging for libraries to switch over without huge budget increases.

    College student, I don't know how you make it in the business world by ignoring the numbers.

    They're in this article, they're in the sidebar, I've quoted them to you, and then you ignore them and say we should go find out what the numbers are. I think you're in denial.

    Here's some info for you from the book industry...

    The title is

    The Reasons Young People Aren't Buying Ebooks

    Research from Voxburner has revealed that only 5% of young people expect to buy an e-reader in the next 12 months. This is compared to the 24% of respondents who expect to buy a tablet and a huge 40% who are expecting to upgrade their smartphone.

    Luke Mitchell, Head of Insight at Voxburner on why young people aren't buying e-books:

    They're too expensive. This generation is militant about value-for-money. Voxburner research shows they expect ebooks to be far cheaper than their print equivalent;

    You can't touch them. When it comes to books, young people want to feel the product in their hands, smell the pages and see the creases in the spine;

    They don't have an e-reader. Almost half of 16-24s don't own a device they would consider reading ebooks on. A quarter say they would read an ebook on their smartphone if they really wanted to;

    They do nothing for status. Many young people admit they like to show off their bookcase titles or be seen carrying a title that communicates the right message;

    They resent being enslaved to technology. Contrary to belief, new Voxburner research into youth attitudes to technology reveals that digital natives do not want to spend any more time looking at screens that they already do.

  • steakholder posted at 7:38 am on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    Now the use of the libarry is "plummeting". That's the 3rd different way that you've characterized it college student. Still with no facts at all.

    Did you happen to notice the sidebar on the article? Northfield's library has the highest PER CAPITA circulation of any library in MN outside the Twin Cities.

    College student, the facts show that use of the library is really high, and will continue to be.

    There is no evidence that people are going to stop using libraries, or real books next year, or in 5 years or 10 years. You certainly have not presented any evidence. Only your wild speculations.

    So now we have yet another different reason for the tiger trail. I thought we were building it because you couldn't put a price on safety, and for all the hundreds of people who would use it everyday[beam]

    Now you're falling back to we have to build it so people have an option to use it? Well, since there is no evidence showing that anyone will use it, I guess all you can do is speculate?

    Not because they're going to use it, but because IF gas goes up to $7 a gallon, people MIGHT use it?

    College student, you, and the like, would have had us spending possibly 3 million dollars or more of taxpayer money on this project, just so people would have an option if the price of gas goes to $7 a gallon?

    Now that we realize that we can build a trail off of St Olaf for a fraction of the cost, was the grandiose trail off a Greenvale a need, or a want? When money got tight, suddently we didn't need the $400,000 separate pedestrian bridge. So was that a need, or a want?

    Yet, over 200,000 people check out a quarter of a million books a year from our library and you think a million dollars after 30 years with no major updates is too much money.

    Spread out over 10 years, based on the number of visitors, a million dollars works out to .50 cents per visitor.

    You're right College Student, we should invest in alternative transportation, but we should do so at a reasonable level, and in places where it WILL get used, not to have a 2 million dollar trail waiting in vain for gas to go to $7 a gallon so it MIGHT get used.

  • College Student posted at 2:28 am on Mon, Mar 31, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222


    From year 1970 the population was under 11,000 as the population grows to over 20,000 as it is now the usage seems to be increasing where as the usage per 1,000 people is most likely plummeting!

    The increasing population is what is increasing the usage, meaning once the population growth stabilizes the demand for the public library will completely decrease in total visits. Again switching to a eBook format would free up plenty of space so no need for an expensive expansion!

    In regards to the tiger trail creating a backbone network of bike trails is critical in allowing residents to have the OPTION to switch over to bikes! Meaning once the mills town trail is built along with the tiger trail people will start to realize that HEY I really can ride my bike around town and get to the places I want and need to go!

    You can justify it as a want vs a need all you want steakholder but I remember when gas prices was 99 cents a gallon. Gas prices and travel costs are 3x as expensive if not 4x the price they were only what 20 years ago? At what point is it time we invest in alternative means of transit? At what point do we say let's give our citizens the option to bike safely on grade separated trails and safe crossings to allow our residents the ability to get to work, school, and any place they wish?

    Does gas need to hit $5.00 a gallon?
    How about 6 or 7 bucks a gallon?

    Sure I am only about 30 and in my lifetime I seen gas prices go from 89 cents to over 4 bucks! Granted there is infatuation however travel costs continue to dramatically increase and if we don't as a region provide other means of transit then we are SOL and will be by far worse off..

    It about time we as a region switch from being road focused construction to bike trail focused! As well as other means of transport. I don't doubt that in my lifetime gas prices will rise to at least 8 bucks a gallon. Which would only be about a 55% increase. Which again ties in to the useless need for a physical library if it's across town and we don't have a easy means to GET there then how can people rent out the books? There is a growing cost of using the library with the growing price of gas...

  • steakholder posted at 2:43 pm on Sun, Mar 30, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    College student...make up your mind would you?

    First you say...

    "As far as I know usage of public libraries seem to be a declining trend"

    Then you say...

    "With a growing population no doubt usage is increasing"

    So which is it???? [whistling] say....".I do agree the space is small congested and tight..."

    but then you say there's nothing that can be done to relieve congestion without an addition?

    I completely disagree. The library's layout is many years old, 1985 actually, and just in the few months the new library director has been here, she has already taken steps to make the library more efficient, without an addition.

    I think if people like the new library director and others who are creative and have experience in this field are given some resources, they can come up with lots of ways to ease the congestion and make better use of the library space, without adding on to the building.

    Part of the reason the library is tight and congested is that when you have a library director for 30 years, and nothing significant changes, eventually you just end up with an inefficient space.

    You're admitting that the library is tight and congested, but you're implying that we shouldn't spend money on an addition. So the only answer remaining, is to either leave the library tight and congested, which is clearly inefficient, or to spend money to make better use of the existing space.

    The only thing I agree with you on is that we should hear more of an idea of how the money will be used. Maybe a small addition is part of the plan.

    So by the way, where's your evidence that there is a need, as opposed to a want, for the Tiger Trail?????

    You want to start counting trends in books checked but you don't want to have a conversation about how few people will use the tiger trail [tongue]

  • College Student posted at 10:51 am on Sun, Mar 30, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    Actually if they simply just track the library cards at checkout and at computers signing in for the internet service they would have a great way to measure traffic and be able to track if it's increasing or decreasing based on the population per year. With a growing population no doubt usage is increasing but if we figure in the growth of the population and find out say how many books are rented per day for every 1,000 residents we would be able to better track the demands for the future.

    Not very complex but it sure would help us understand if there is a need or just a WANT for nice things ;)

  • College Student posted at 10:47 am on Sun, Mar 30, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    come on now, I don't solo base it on my opinions alone! Heck if I did I would support closing the public library with that logic! ...Though I may have to pick up my tax forms at a different location... hmm...

    The public library is a very great asset to the community I understand that but going forward it's value is decreasing every year. My area of studies in college is business and from a business side of things it does not seem smart to invest a large amount of funds into a decreasing business. Have you check out the last 10 years of book checkouts and divided them according to the current population of that year and calculated the amount of books per say 1,000 residents and studied if that number is increasing or decreasing my guess would be it is greatly decreasing every year.

    You say eReaders are to "expensive" like I suggested a yearly rental fee of $10 a year would be enough to allow all residents to have cheap access to books for an entire year! Heck there could even be a subsidy for the low income residents too. Or even rasie the rental price to accommodate that (such as $1 a month for unlimited eBook rentals!) I have paid twice that much in late fee's before lol

    publishers are inflating the costs as they currently control much of the supply to the eBooks however as that model continues to erode as many writers are using self publishing methods or alternative means to getting there books to market the price shall continue to decline overall. Ebooks are the future granted there are still some minor problems but even taking that into consideration NOT having the expense of maintaining that book is a cost savings right there that also helps to supplement that slightly higher cost of eBooks currently. Sure it's still in the early adapter phase and the costs savings may not be completely there yet but it's still huge savings when you factor in all the added expenses of physical books.

    No I am not supporting spending millions of dollars switching existing books into eBooks! I support the idea that the public library be only purchasing eBooks going forward (provided they can also figure out a eReader option for low income residents too!) Of course some books you may want to still have on hand at the library so not every single book may only be purchased as eBooks but at least 90% could be going forward.

    With that business plan withing 10 years majority of new books will be eBooks while space in the public library will be increasing! As empty shelfs open up as culling of books always occur as they get outdated, damaged beyond usage, or other reasons. Then a remodel would be beneficial to relocate that space into better usage such as computer stations and public meeting spaces.

    Heck even if eBooks are at a higher price due to the publishers saving 10 Million dollars by NOT having to double the library size can buy a lot of overpriced eBooks too! ;)

    Heck 1 Million dollars would buy 12,500 eReaders for residents at the price of $80 each. OR we could move some dusty book shelves and put them on WHEELS!!!! [beam] and get a pretty brand new checkout desk..

    I don't know how you justify this one steakholder your usually very logical on expensive projects. You do bring up some good points but still they fall short of making it a bad idea to switch to an eBook system.

    Also please note I am not suggesting we spend any additional money beyond 10-30K maybe a new coat of paint and some minor changes inside to help maxamize space. However with MY plan we would have increased space in the existing building in the future as new books come in as digital format and old books go out and are not replaced with physical books!

  • steakholder posted at 8:03 am on Sun, Mar 30, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    I agree that it would be nice to see some more of the details of this plan.

    I, and other people value libraries not just for selfish reasons, i.e., how much we personally use the libraries ourselves.

    We value libraries because of what others, and the community as a whole gains from the presence of the library.

    Libraries are a particular asset for the disadvantaged, who can't afford a computer, a kindle, or internet access.

    College student, it's nice of you to admit that your estimation of the value of the library is based solely on the extent to which it benefits you personally. Based on your rational, it's completely logical that you wouldn't support this plan.

    By your logic though, we should not then build the Tiger trail, because the only people who should support it are the ones who gain personally from it's construction, i.e. the people who will use it, and that number is very small.

    Based on the amount of items still checked out of our library every year, and the number of programs they offer, and how busy the place usually is, I think our library offers a valuable service.

    I think the library is due for some work. If the work didn't get done, I'm not sure that would really bother me, or that the library wouldn't be able to continue to serve those who use it.

    I think that a small investment in the library every few decades offers great value, especially compared to some of the other things the city seems to want to spend money on..Tiger Trail, public plaza, Bridge Square remodel. The last one is the best. We'll end up spending half a million on Bridge square because it's downtown.

    Hey, that's a great idea....the library is downtown! Instead of squandering the TIF money on Bridge square, let's spend it on the library!!!

    I was vehemently opposed to the idea of spending 10 million to double the size of the library. The people who proposed that plan are still out there. Some of them are on the council. For all I know college student, you might be one of them.

    Mark my words. If we don't spend some money on the library now, and 3 of the 4 get re-elected this year, the 10 million dollar library expansion will come back.

    You seem certain that in a few years, nobody will want to check out real books any more. I think that horizon is many years off.

    I used to think more like you do, but upon reading about the subject, I found several problems with the theory.

    First....the number of titles available in ebook form is very, very small, and it's mostly newer books or the more popular classics, that sell better, which are available in eform.

    In other words, there are a lot of books out there, which just won't be available in e form for some time to come.

    There is also an issue with expense to the library, my understanding is that an ebook sold to a library, unlike the ones you buy personally, is actually quite expensive, like several times the cost of a regular book. It also comes with a very limited number of check outs allowed, as opposed to a hard copy book which can be checked out many hundreds of times with no additional fee.

    So switching over to ebooks sounds like it would present financial challenges which you are overlooking.

    You are suggesting that libraries could literally put all their books into e format somehow, complaining that 1 million dollars is too much money, but then you ignore the hundreds of millions it would cost to replace entire library collections with digital media.

    I think what you're also failing to realize or acknowledge is that there are a large number of people still reading standard books. Like the 220,000 check outs from the library in 2012.

    Have you ever gone to the used book sale at the ice arena? Packed every year. All those people buying regular books.'s an interesting article for you which shows the sharp downward trend in ebook sales through the end of 2012, into the beginning of 2013.

    Apparently the belief is that ebooks will remain at or below the 25% of book sales that they currently make up.

    Also, your claims about the Tiger Trail representing planning for the future? You say the future of the library is uncertain? But you think the future use of the tiger trail is certain? I don't know how you can claim that when there isn't a plan yet for where it will go, or what it will look like, let alone who will use it.

  • College Student posted at 9:03 pm on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    yes, it true I don't value the library as much anymore given new technology. I am able to greatly use the internet as a means of obtaining information and there are other options such as eBooks that makes needing a physical library unnecessary in the future.

    This report does not give many details as to what will be expanded besides the front desk and putting existing books on rolling shelfs... which seems like that is not important enough to need 1 Million dollars!

    yes, I would agree the current design could use some improvements as it is rather tight spaces. Yet, until they have a specific plan on what they plan on spending the money we should object to the idea!

    yes, they suggest they would possible use 300K from there own funds but that was not a sure deal if they could get city funds too. Also 700K from the city is still a great chunk of change!

    eReaders have recently become extremely accessible with the recent popularity of tablet computers! Along with affordable eReaders too most people will be able to access books via online sources. The technology exists that a public library could simply sell/rent out a eReader to the public in which they could rent a digital copy of the book for 2 weeks. (also hook up there existing eReader to the library network to access and borrow books too!)

    Just look at the benefits of this design! the library won't have to store they physical book, won't have to staff the libary to borrow out that physical book, and the libary won't have to worry about wear and tear on the book either! It's a massive win win! The only downside is the upfront costs of the ereader which run about 80 bucks if not cheaper maybe 50 bucks.

    The existing technology already exists! Just getting the public library to adapt to the change is the problem! Sure the borrowing of physical books is still high because older generations are less resistant to change.

    Spending 1 million dollars now without a clear plan to adapt to the future is wasted funds IMO. Adapting to eBooks options would reduce costs greatly (perhaps a $5-10 dollar yearly rental fee for the eReader would be realistic?)

    With that in mind you won't have to wait 2 days for the public library to transfer a book from a different location! They could download the digital copy (if it is not currently being rented already) in a few seconds! Meaning better accessibility decreased shipping costs and less storage and handling costs to get you that book! Not to mention the book costs less because eBooks are cheaper to produce than physical books!!!!!

    The public library is a great asset to the community yes, I agree. However current technology has made the current design outdated, to expensive to operate, and not as accessible as it could be!

    Also in regards to the Tiger Trail the tiger trail is AGAIN planning for the future! As gas prices continue to increase other means of transport will grow in demand, meaning in the years to come even more people will choose to bike instead of drive so the trail will have a increasing demand... where as the library in it's current design will have a decreasing demand... Heck even with a eBook format a physical library may not even be needed besides a space for wifi to download the books and computer access, and a meeting space for the kids... I don't see the justification for 1 Million dollars for shelfs with wheels and a new front desk... that really not going to solve many of the problems with the library system.

  • ubetcha posted at 3:55 pm on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    ubetcha Posts: 315

    Maybe the state or better yet the city can conduct a million dollar study on how many people per day use the library when it's open, then use some scientific equation to figure visitors per year (sarcasm)...... Compare that to other librarys NOT of the same size or caliber of residents.

    That'll tell us if we need to really address this now. LOL!

  • steakholder posted at 7:47 am on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    Oh College least I understand your point this time. I just don't agree with you.

    First of all, you must not have even read the article, because the proposal is that the city will spend a milliion, and $300,000 comes from the library gift fund.

    The Tiger Trail will also likely spend about a million dollars of city money, but we don't know for sure, because almost 2 years into the project, we don't have chosen plan, we don't have a bid, so we don't even have a price. What a great project!!!

    Maybe you didn't see or read the article in the newspaper in April about circulation at the library. In 2012, 221,000 books were checked out. That averages out to about 100 books per person, or 2 a week. Sounds like a lot of people are still checking out books.

    Tell you one thing, you won't see 220,000 trips on the Tiger Trail.

    I'd also say you're being misleading implying that you can get any e-book you want for free on line. You can get a few books free, but very limited selection. What you're missing is that the program is a marketing ploy, really designed just to hook you in and get you to rent other books that you see at full price.

    So if a new book comes out that you want to read, you either have to pay full price for the actual book, or full price for an ebook, or you can go to our wonderful library and check it out for free[beam]

    Also, right now, it sounds like part of the libraries problem is that they don't have room for more computers or more ereaders, and it sounds like that's what they're trying to address by rearranging their space?

    Some of the big supporters of the library in this town wanted to spend up to 10 million to double the size of the thing. I think that would be a huge mistake, because we don't know what people will demand from a library in 5 - 10 years.

    I think someday, ebooks will to some extent replace real books, but it won't be tomorrow, and it won't be in 5 years. Enough of the current population grew up with hard copy books, and won't switch over to ebooks, and the demand will still be there for some time.

    I believe that the library should be nice, and if they can provide more and better service, I think a million dollars is pretty reasonable considering that it's been a long time since we really spent any money on that building.

    Part of my thought on this is that I'd rather see us spend 1 million, and kill the idea of spending 10 million. If we don't do something, we'll end up spending 8-10 million if the wrong people get a hold of the council in a November, or another year or two.

    There may be some who realize this.

    Watch to see which, if any, of our councilors try to block this project, and then go back a few years and see if those are the same councilors that were saying we needed a 10 million dollars library renovation!

    College's obvious that you don't value libraries and the services they provide as much or more than you value the Tiger Trail.

  • College Student posted at 1:51 am on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    No, my point is that the traditional concept of a library is not a benefit to the community anymore as younger generations have other means of getting the SAME benefits. Meaning it's by far is easier to buy a eBook or to borrow an eBook than to drive across town to the public library request a book and wait a few more days to then go back and pick it up!

    You argue that the library is useful to the community. Why? because you can rent book for free? Services such as Amazon and other eReaders allow that same option with only a wait time of 60 seconds to download a book at a cheap price or to borrow it from a friend for FREE!

    Now if the public library was wanting to invest 1 million dollars to supply some eReaders and rent out digital version of books I would be interested in finding out more information.

    However 1 million dollars to renovate a decaying business (community service) model well... that's just silly!

    It's almost as silly as if the USPS was going to try to compete with emailing services by encouraging residents to send post cards that take 1-2 weeks for deliver over email that take all of 5-10 seconds!

    Sure there will always be some people who just enjoy sending out those postcards instead of emails I get it... but the vast majority would rather use email services for the convenience!

    1 million dollars will be going to what? a remodel of the existing building? is it going to be painted in gold and get silver plated tables and chairs too? [huh]

    Maybe 10,000 would be realistic... but 1 million dollars! HAH! it should not cost 1 million dollars to redo the front desk and to put some wheels on the bottom of bookshelf's! (well I guess buying bookshelves with wheels on the bottom might cost what 500,000? hmm... seems like a good deal to you?)

    Finally I will point out that they are asking the CITY for the funds well for 700,000 of it at least! The tiger trail used many grants from the state and federal level!

  • Sparo73 posted at 9:07 pm on Fri, Mar 28, 2014.

    Sparo73 Posts: 1214

    Peter - The last time I checked there were only two. But I think one of them moved but don't hold me to that.

  • steakholder posted at 8:54 pm on Fri, Mar 28, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    College student, I read your post twice, and it's really hard to figure out what point you're trying to make, or if you are even trying to make one at all amongst the contradictions you state.

    I think the rational for this IS that we don't know what the library will be in 10 years. So it makes sense to spend a smaller amount to do some updates, and then see what happens. Going along with the last council's plans to double the size for 10 million would be a very foolish thing to do considering the uncertainty about what a library will be in 10 years.

    The huge difference you're completely overlooking between the Tiger Trail and the Library is that a public library is essentially a core service that the city provides.

    People use the library, and there's not doubt that people will continue to use the library over the next several years.

    Building an overengineered trail based on unsubstantiated and muddled claims of what purpose it will serve or who will use it is about as far away from a core service as you can get.

    I think you've fallen into the same rut that our library old library director may have. Just a lack of imagination or ability to look at a space and a process and think outside the box in terms of how to make significant improvements with a reasonable amount of money.

  • College Student posted at 6:08 pm on Fri, Mar 28, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    so if I were to first suggest we spend 1 BILLION dollars on the tiger trail you might have a heart attack but you would object. Then I said maybe we could do the tiger trail for 100 Million... well then you might stop yelling profanity at me and just be down right upset. THEN I said OK fine we can cut it back to ONLY a mere 1 million dollar price tag and you would be on board? [wink] Not sure how you can still justify 1 Million for the public library with that logic but I shall go on...

    Have you ever heard of this device called the Kindle? Well I just bought one this winter for $85 bucks after taxes and I have access to TONS of cheap books online and many free books to occupy my free time! Also there is ebook rentals services through Amazon you can borrow a book from a friend for free or a very low fee! I will admit I do prefer a physical book over a ebook (I'm not that young I guess) however there is a great deal of convince to eBooks that make it more efficient and smarter to adopt the new technology.

    Also Google books already upload many books online too (though they take out a few pages for copyright infringement reasons but allow access to them online)

    Sure there currently is no quick better solution to the public library as it's still a costs to buying a eBook vs renting it at the public library yet in the near future eBooks will completely knock out the public library just as payphones were!

    Plus the cost to getting to the public library via transport and time spending there is another cost too! In 20 years book printing will all but be a novelty and with that in mind it does not makes any sense to invest in a public library that much capital!

    Heck it would be as silly as if we invested 1 Million in a pay phone booth network or a CD rental store! ...if cellphones and MP3 players with USB ports didn't exist well then maybe there would be demand! ...but there is not.

  • Peter Millin posted at 9:06 pm on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    Peter Millin Posts: 207

    How many kids actually still use the library?

  • stupormajority posted at 8:52 am on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    stupormajority Posts: 26

    This seems reflective of a trend in our local government towards inflating both the need and price of projects to suit personal agendas.

    We were told we had to build this elaborate trail with all kinds of bridges and retaining walls and sharp curves and hills for 3 million dollars because it was the only way to solve the problem and alternatives weren't safe.

    Then we find out we can run a trail off St Olaf probably for a fraction of the cost. Simpler, cheaper.

    The library issue is the same. We were told he HAD to build a 10 million dollar library addition beause the library was too small and it just didn't work. Then we hire a new library director and she, we don't need to spend 10 million, let's just do a few fixes for maybe a million?

    Somebody just wanted an elaborate bike trial, and somebody just wanted a huge new library downtown.

    I think in the future when certain councilors tell us that we HAVE to spend some huge amount of money on a project, they're going to be greeted with great skepticism and suspicion.

  • steakholder posted at 7:33 am on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    steakholder Posts: 1722

    On the one hand, a million dollars is a lot of money. On the other hand I'm relieved that we might spend a million dollars on the library , because our last council (mary Rossing era) wanted to spend 10 million to double the size of the library.

    Spending half again as much as we spent on the safety center would seem ludicrous. Also, the plan was to add more public meeting space. We have public meeting space all over this town. The tax payers don't need to pay for more.

    I've noticed that since we hired a new library director, the library has undergone some improvements. They have another self check out, they're open on Sundays again, when you order books, you can pick them up yourself instead of having to bother a librarian.

    I think that part of the problem with the cluttered feel of the library is the way it was organized and run. Let's face it, when you've had the same director for 25 years, there's a tendency to get stuck in a rut.

    My guess is that this plan is relfective of the new library director's professional opinion that our library's size must be adequate, and that they don't need to double the size of the building.

    If she thought the library was too small, wouldn't we be hearing that from the library board? I think the board is actually showing restraint and responsibility in saying we only need to spend a million.

    I value the library, and I think a million dollars for possibly some reorganization and a face lift is a fair request.

    Heck, we're going to maybe spend a million dollars of city money on the TIger Trail, and what's that going to get us?

    College Student has it all wrong once again. [sad] Northfield's library is part of SELCO, which means you can easily sit at the computer and order any book that's at any of the SELCO libraries, and have it in your hands in a few days.

    I've been extremely impressed with the volume of books available.

    So actually, the size, or scope, of the library has absolutely nothing to do with the quantity of books that are available there. Hate to tell you that college student....

    Lastly, the future of libraries is really uncertain, so this seems again like a reasonable approach. Let's spend a million now, and then see what happens with libraries and technology over the next 5-10 years.

  • College Student posted at 2:02 am on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    College Student Posts: 222

    As far as I know usage of public libraries seem to be a declining trend. I visited this location several time and I do agree the space is small congested and tight... not much you can do to expand on the existing small footprint.

    I think I would be mostly against this project. I would not expect to be able to find many books I wanted at such a limited scope library. I think city funds could be better invested other places.

    For example, the YMCA on the south end of town that location has much more space perhaps many of the community events could be moved to there instead freeing up much needed space THEN a major investment in the downtown library would seem justifiable! Though I just don't see how that could be realistic either..

  • AGHAST posted at 12:37 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    AGHAST Posts: 9

    WONDERFUL idea. The Northfield Library is one of the greatest GEMs Northfield has and has been largely ignored far too long by the city fathers. The library is entitled to the greatest respect in this highly-educated demographics city. Unfortunately counselors have requested "more information" before going forward....again sounding like the usual delaying tactics. Get with it and move forward.


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