Proposed Floor Plan for Aberdeen’s New Public Library

After much discussion, meeting, planning, and studying, here is the proposed floor plan for Aberdeen’s New Public Library. It is all on one level now, with a large, interactive children’s area that opens up to an outdoor play area of over 800 square feet. Teens will have a dedicated space and the adult area will be enormous, wide open and full of natural light. Most unique is the multipurpose kitchen area that will be great for demonstrations and classes. Take a look!

Library Oblique

Once the construction documents are finished, the Aberdeen City Council will vote to advertise for bids. When the bids come in, and they are within the targeted budget, the city council will again vote to finance and construct the new library. This could all take place by this fall. Construction could start in spring of 2016.

Many are asking how they can help. Write letters to the American News, and city councilors. Visit the city council at 5:30 on Monday evenings to speak in support of the new library. There is a public forum at the beginning of each council meeting. Just sign in and say a few quick words about how you use the library and how much better Aberdeen will be with a new, modern facility (or say what you like!). We want to keep positive momentum going forward.

During this time frame, the Library Foundation will be raising $2.1 million to help the city afford the $8 million total project. Yes, money will need to be raised. We will be asking the Aberdeen public and business community to support the cause. If possible, get your place of employment to mount a donation from employees, get your social clubs to contribute, have day care kids save their pennies. We hope to raise a substantial portions from area foundations and key individuals, but we want everyone to have chance to be a part of the Beyond Books Campaign. You don’t need anyone’s permission to raise money, but just keep us in the loop. We may have some prizes or swag we can offer.

More details to come on the floor plan for Aberdeen’s new public library.

Your New Aberdeen Public Library Answers

Is the new library going to be the same size as the current library? The new library will have over 28,000 square feet of usable indoor and outdoor space. The current library is about 15,000 on the main floor, most all of which is jammed packed. The basement is about the same square footage, however only about 6,000 square feet is usable for library programming. The new library will be all on one floor so there will be no wasted space for stairwells or duplicitous utilities.

Is the new library a waste of money? No. The new library will be like the aquatics center, the downtown Streetscape, the YMCA, Swisher Field, the ARCC, and the Police Station, which are all recent additions to our city that have helped attract new companies and residents to town. Even if the new library is not built, your taxes will not be reduced, nor will you receive a refund. It is being funded with existing sales tax revue which is continually coming into the city. The new library, along with these other successes, contributes to a progressive quality of life for everyone living in the Aberdeen area. Anything that enhances our quality of life and educational opportunities is not a waste of money, especially when it’s funded with existing tax revenue. Read how our library is used.

What’s wrong with our current library? The current library has no more room to grow. It was not designed for computers and now we have no room to add more. The bathrooms are not ADA compliant, restricting access to some. There is no more room to add materials. In fact, our collection has been kept artificially low due to insufficient space to house everything required for a growing community. Our library offerings are less per capita when compared to other South Dakota towns. This is due to usable space, layout, and infrastructure. Plus, flooding from the roof, the windows and the basement may jeopardize the investment in our collection and non-replaceable historic ephemera and books…Read More

In the age of technology, why do we even need libraries?  Just because books and documents are offered online, that does not mean they will be free or that a person would be able to access the whole thing. Along with that, access to the internet is not always free. There are many people who do not have internet in their home and go to the library to pay their bills, shop online, or just check out their Facebook. The library is also more than just books, offer different classes, access to clubs, and many other things that the internet cannot offer… Watch this video to learn more

When do we get to vote on the library? There is no vote required to build the new library. The public can refer the decision to a public vote after the city council agrees to build the new library. The city council cannot bring the decision to a public vote.

When will the new library be built? The new library is scheduled to break ground in 2016 and will probably open in the spring of 2017.

What is the status of the process? The city council has approved the funding of the new library. Next is construction bids then ground breaking.

Why don’t we spend the money on roads instead? The new library will be paid for with a 20-year bond. The bond payment will be between $400,000-$500,00 per year. Presently the city of Aberdeen spends over $7 million PER YEAR on our roads. We can get a brand new, $8 million library in one year.

Will my taxes go up? No, the new library will be paid for with money earned from sales tax revenue. This revenue funds a major portion of Aberdeen’s improvements each year and the bond payment of $400,000+ will come out of this fund. The YMCA will be paid off and the amount for the bond payment for that will be reallocated to the new library. Funds will not be taken away from any other need in our community. No new taxes are required to build this. And even if it isn’t built, no one will receive a tax credit, nor will taxes go down.

Where will the new library be built? Land has already been purchased for the new library. It is located on one entire city block surrounded by Washington Street, 4th Avenue SE, Jay Street and 3rd Avenue SE, directly east of the Federal Building.

How much will the new library cost? The new library is budgeted to cost $8 million. The Foundation will donate $2.1 million towards that to reduce the city’s contribution and to help create a durable, well-designed facility that will serve Aberdeen for generations. The City’s cost is about $5.9 million, the Foundation wanted to ensure an amazing facility so a $2.1 million challenge was added to allow the business and citizens of Aberdeen to help in this effort.

How can I donate to the new Aberdeen Public Library? All forms of financial gifts to the Beyond Books campaign are welcome. This includes cash, real estate, farmland, bonds and stocks. Pick up a pledge form at the library or contact Library Foundation President, Troy McQuillen at 226-3481 to learn about making a gift.

Why can’t we remodel the current library? The basement would have to be rebuilt, the roof replaced, all the windows replaced, all the bathrooms re-engineered, the HVAC would be re-engineered and rebuilt, all the offices moved, all the wiring would be redone, and more space would have to be added. If every single problem was fixed in our new library and every square inch of the basement was utilized, we would potentially attract a lot more people. However, the parking lot can only accommodate about 60 cars, which would once again, limit access to the library, not the point of an improved facility. An adjacent building would need to be purchased for parking. The costs may exceed the $5.9 million the city is currently committing to the project. The new library will have spaces for 100 cars as well as lots of street parking. The total costs associated with a remodel would be extensive, and yet we’d still have to use the basement, which is not an inspiring place to learn, meet, and connect.

Why Build A New Library In The Digital Age?

The Internet encourages, not replaces, library use. Every time more Internet terminals are added, the use of everything else goes UP – more books checked out, more browsing, more magazines read, more reference questions, more program attendance. 

Our community needs a new library in the digital age.

IMPROVE LITERACY
The children’s storytime – featuring real live people from our own community – is the single most potent strategy for sowing literacy in our community. Study after study show that early childhood literacy is a predictor of school achievement and future success. Fundamental cognitive and language skills are developed before children reach school age. Summer reading programs help to assure language and reading skills do not diminish over the summer months.

GENERATE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
The library is an anchor store and traffic generator. Libraries pull a cross-section of the public, all ages, all day long, through our doors. Studies show significant economic benefits to communities with modern, exciting libraries.

PROVIDE ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION
Library buildings are a bridge over the digital divide. Libraries are about access, and our record of allowing digitally disadvantaged people – poor, young, elderly, etc. – to use public technology to bootstrap themselves out of technological ghettos is real. Further, a library offers the expertise of trained library personnel who can help patrons interpret and qualify information in internet searches.

BRING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER
Libraries foster community through providing meeting space and lifelong learning opportunities. Libraries serve the role of common, safe and neutral ground. Libraries manifest and reinforce community values – a tangible sign of a community’s commitment to individual inquiry, a safety net for the young and old, a secular sanctuary for social contact or for private pondering.

SUPPORT WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
A new library can be the center of Aberdeen’s workforce development. Library resources can create strong ties to area businesses by offering basic computer knowledge, language learning assistance, etc. to strengthen the workforce. A new library can also offer support to small business by stocking tools for starting a new business specific to the region, providing specific support for micro- businesses (typically in home), computer/online access, and networking.

In the workforce recruitment game, the community with the right mix of jobs, amenities and quality of life, wins.

How We Used Our Library- the Numbers

Straight facts: the numbers

  • 123,210 Patron Visits
  • 51,880 Reference Transactions
  • 65,997 Magazine and other items check-out
  • 38,867 Ebook and other electronic item check outs
  • 13,818 Youth and Adults registered for programs
  • 146,400 Book check-outs
  • 7,165 Registered library card holders
  • 2,880 one-to-one assistance program sessions
  • 53,000+ Technology uses (30 minutes computer/laptop/tablet sessions
  • 343 Youth and adult programs
  • 256,044 Total number of items circulated in 2014
  • Library Patrons on average consist 20% of visitors to Aberdeen

Aberdeen’s First Library Donated by Andrew Carnegie

Roughly 20 years after things got moving in Aberdeen, the city accepted a $15,000 contribution from Andrew Carnegie to put towards the construction of a new library. The new library was opened in 1901. It was located on Sixth Avenue at the corner of Lincoln Street. Currently a multipurpose building for First United Methodist Church sits on this site.

Interestingly, most of these libraries funded by Carnegie were called, “Carnegie” libraries and many still exist today; either as libraries or some other businesses. Since Aberdeen, SD was named in honor of the president of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad’s home town in Scotland, Carnegie asked that Aberdeen’s library be named for his friend Alexander Mitchell. Legend says this is the only time this occurred. The fact cannot be verified. The library does have in its possession the letter from Carnegie requesting this naming distinction.

Sadly, this building fell in to disrepair and had to be abandoned. It was condemned in 1950 and the site remained a parking lot for decades.