Plans for a new library in early stages after trip

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 29, 2003

The Troy Public Library's campaign for a new building or a renovation of the existing library building is in its beginning stages.

Last week, librarian Margaret Stewart and a small contingent of library board members and city councilman made a trip to four libraries in the Birmingham area to "get an idea."

"We went just to get an idea - to look as some things and visualize what we'd might like to do," said District 3 councilman Jason Reeves.

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Along on the trip were library board members Susan Murphree, Octavia Jones, Rebecca Skibba and architect Paul Butler, who's been involved with library since its renovation in the early '90s.

"It gave us some good ideas that we can bring back to Troy and work with," Stewart said.

"We're talking about (being in) the embryo stage right now," Reeves said. "But we've got to put a plan together if we ever want to raise any money."

Stewart said the library foundation, set up as a non-profit corporation, has a shade more than $15,000 in its building fund, plus about $26,000 from a gift from Claudia Crosby. That money has been earmarked for furnishing for a new library, she said.

"We love where we are, but we've outgrown it," Steward said.

Currently, the entire collection the library has cannot be placed on shelves,

neither can all of the tables and chairs owned by the library be placed for patrons' use, she said.

State library commission rules establish minimum square footage based on the number of patrons a library has.

Reeves said a new library would take time to build.

"We realize we have a long way to got, but you have to take that first step and that's what we did in traveling to Birmingham," he said.

"We've got to come up with a good plan to present to the city council and see what they think," he said.

Reeves said with the prioritization of the new recreation center now moving forward, he hoped more attention could be focused on a new library.

"Our hopes would be to raise enough money and get enough grant money to keep the city's contribution as limited as possible. I think the city would staff a new building and match some grants up to a certain point," Reeves said. "We need to try to raise enough money and get grants to help make that possible."

Stewart said the long-term approach to planning a new facility was a key element to successfully completing a library project.

"We need to be planning (for a new library) to meet our needs for the next 20 years," she said.

Reeves said that meeting additional needs would be a primary concern.

"It definitely needs to be a multi-use facility with either a theater or community rooms that could be used by smaller groups.

"It's something that we need," he said.