Of the nine people testifying, seven were either related to our Centennial Neighborhood Association or the “Citizens for a Library” group. It was all about our issues last night when it came to testimony.
Young 9-year-old Molly Froerer spoke about the importance of libraries to her personally. Well done, Molly! After the meeting, BPD Chief of Police, who also attended the meeting, commented that he “wanted to clap” for Molly after her testimony.Very positive and encouraging! “Citizens for a Library” and your Centennial Neighborhood representatives were there to testify. I just spent the last few hours watching and unpacking details, taking notes of the taped meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv8Mre8G_UQ . Note that testimony was limited to three minutes per person for this meeting.
Time0:00 – Start of Boise City Council Meeting to vote on the 2023-2024 Budget Presentation
41:29 Beginning of citizen testimony, Council members questions and comments
1:24:45 Watch all but if you want to skip and hear Molly first, here’s your spot
Watching this meeting in its entirety, at least from the start of testimony, is highly informative. I was extremely impressed by the Mayor and Council interactions with those giving testimony. I’m not a fan of what are often dull and monotonous public meetings. This meeting was neither.
With Mark Salisbury’s permission I am posting his reflections on Tuesday’s meeting from the “Citizens for a Library” Facebook page. Great job, Mark
|Mark Salisbury||Jul 12, 2023, 11:33 PM (20 hours ago)|
|to bcc: me|
Hello Citizens for a Library in West Boise,
We made an impact last night but there’s more to do.
- We’ve helped set the stage for the Boise library to act as they work on a new master plan over the next year.
- Margaret Carmel of Boise Dev wrote a nice article summarizing the meeting titled Calls for West Boise library dominate Boise budget public hearing.
- I’m keeping the petition open until we see money allocated and a location identified. Encourage people to sign it!
Thank you for supporting this initiative!
I posted this on Facebook earlier today: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westboiselibrary. <– join this group if you use FB.
Last night was a success. I delivered printed copies of our petition, with names of signers, and a few pieces of supporting information, to City Council Members, Mayor McLean, and Library Director Dorr. Besides myself, Gary Dufault, Amanda Salisbury, Jennifer Froerer, Molly Froerer, and Joe Lague offered testimony in support of this effort. Others expressed a desire to be there but for various reasons were unable to be (Nancy Cowles, Jennifer Gravel, and Tammy Rampton, and Codi Galloway have worked hard on this and weren’t able to attend). Molly Froerer was the youngest person to testify, and she stole the crowd — Police Chief Ron Winegar told her he wanted to clap when she finished!
They heard our message loud and clear. I know they recognize the gap that exists in West Boise, and I believe they would like to do something about it. They understand that many citizens care about this. I was encouraged by the questions that were asked by City Council members and the support they offered for improving library access. The conversation shifted to the mechanics of how we get this done.
Names of 835 Boise Citizens were included on the petition we delivered, including comments from many who have signed the petition online.
By signing this petition, by testifying, we’ve shown them that Boiseans do value library service, and believe equitable access is important.
We’re not without obstacles, however.
I’m learning how city government works through this process. When I started this, I believed that showing the City Council that there is a need to address, that there are enough people who believe this matters, would be sufficient to prioritize this problem and allocate funds to address it.
I knew that Library Director Jessica Dorr, the staff at the Boise Public Library, and the Boise Library Board of Trustees would need to back any development plans and ultimately request the funds from the city. (Did you know that Boise has a private foundation that supports the library? https://www.boisepubliclibrary.org/about/support-your-library/library-foundation/. Donors gave millions to build a new downtown Boise Library in 2019. These funds were returned after that effort failed). I understand the desire to not misstep right now. Last year the Boise Library collected citizen input. Included in this year’s city budget are funds to pay a consulting agency to help develop a new master plan, which will include examining how facilities are expanded and improved.
By showing them (library staff and city leadership) that citizens care about facilities (and the library knows this also through the outreach they did last year), we’re helping to provide evidence that citizens will support funds going towards library improvements.
There are really 2 options for how we could see library access improved in West Boise:
1) A facility is leased to add a library branch. Collister and Hillcrest are renovated shopping mall space. The city likes them because they are relatively inexpensive.
2) A dedicated facility is constructed. This could happen on land already owned by the city or land could be purchased.
At the conclusion of the study (which will look at the entire city), I believe multiple scenarios will be presented, ranging in cost and scope. To decide which scenario to pursue, I believe the library staff and board of trustees won’t want to hear just from the Mayor and City Council, they’ll want to hear from citizens also.
Our hope is that when this study is completed, we’re ready to turn to visible action.
We suggested that the library / city should examine West Boise in particular for how to expand while the study is taking place as the gap is so obvious.
What do we need to do in the meantime?
– Remain engaged. Find out what’s happening. Offer input to the city and library when the opportunity is available to do so.
– Build more support. Talk about this initiative. I’m leaving this petition open until money is allocated and a place is designated for a library in West Boise.
– Support and use the library.
– Finally, have some patience. Realizing this will take some time.
Big thanks to Council Member Luci Browning Willits for supporting this initiative and getting these great pictures!
Also, I want to acknowledge the efforts, prior to this meeting, of the Centennial Neighborhood Association. Gary Dufault, CTNAs’ President, in addition to speaking last night, has been very supportive and engaged in this effort. The Centennial Neighborhood Association, which has 13,000 Boise residents, is fully within the West Boise Library Desert. Larry Ice and Joe Lague, also members of the CTNA board, testified at the City Council Meeting last night as well. It’s awesome to see our Neighborhood Associations energizing Boise and representing their communities!
Citizens for a Library in West Boise Organizer