The current library building is not able to meet the needs of our community, in both Aberdeen and the surrounding areas. We are not able to live up to our mission of providing the citizens of Aberdeen access to many things. In fact, access is restricted and limited due to the current building. At its present configuration, and parking lot size, many library services and programs are being denied to a growing population. The layout of the building has been changed and reconfigured time and time again to accommodate a growing population and increased usage. Entry ways were taken over for reading alcoves, the bookmobile garage was converted to staff offices and computers were simply put wherever they fit.
When benchmarked against other communities our size, and other communities in South Dakota, our library lacks in the number of available items and services per capita. This is the result of a current building which is poorly configured for modern library usage, lacks functional space, lacks parking spaces, and is plagued by water infiltration. Our current library does not reflect the needs of a growing community or our values as a community.
Limited Collections: lack of shelving space limits the size and diversity of the various collections (books, CDs, magazines, DVDs, reference materials, and historic archives).
Shortage of Computers: Many of Aberdeen’s citizens do not have access to computers and the current computer stations provided at the library are not enough to meet demand.
Scarce Seating: The current library does not provide enough inviting space for reading, studying or gathering in groups throughout the building.
Lack of Program and Meeting Space: Current meeting and programming space is in the basement with no exterior windows, low lighting, and can only be accessed during normal hours of operation. Use of the space is now limited to library programs, despite requests from outside groups and clubs.
Reduced Children’s Programs: Children’s early literacy programs are filled to capacity at the current library; parents and children are turned away due to the lack of space. Flooding has been so regular that the Children’s room has been permanently abandoned. Children must now share space with everyone else, leaving little space for engaging programs and events. Families report that they feel uncomfortable exposing their kids to others who might want to be reading or studying, so they leave as quickly as they can.
Water Infiltration: Chronic water infiltration, including leaks from the roof and windows, have compounded the flooding that has occurred in the basement on numerous occasions. Mold, dirt, humidity and the ongoing threat of flooding have rendered only 30% of the basement usable for library activity (meeting rooms).
Aged Infrastructure: Constructed in 1963, the current library building is not in full compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and lacks the electrical, cabling, and internet services required by any modern-day structure.
An Uninspiring Setting: The current library has low ceilings, cramped quarters, bad lighting, obscured windows, and a hodge-podge of furnishings. This does not provide for a space that energizes and inspires patrons. It is not inviting.
Limited Access to Technology: The so called, “Digitial Divide” is very present in Aberdeen and more and more people are wishing to learn and access computer/internet-based technology and services, but simply don’t know how, or can’t afford the technology for their home. Insufficient computer devices and work stations prevent many from bridging this digital divide.