A Letter to Neighborhood Associations

We, the Centennial Neighborhood Association, represent Boise’s west-most citizens. We would like to make you aware of an issue we’ve raised with city leaders. We’d like your support. We’d also like to know what issues you feel need more attention where you live. We know that we are stronger when we support each other.

Boise Neighborhood Associations, with a red circle around the Centennial Neighborhood Association

In Fall 2022, a couple of our citizens appealed to our Neighborhood Association, at our Annual Meeting, highlighting the need for better library services in West Boise.  They shared a map, showing that most of the city lives within 2 miles of a library, except for West Boise.

Boise Library Coverage, with a focus on West Boise

In 2023 these citizens started a group, calling themselves “Citizens for a Library in West Boise”, with support from our Neighborhood Association.  Together we took a petition to neighbors, calling on the Mayor, City Council, and Library Board, to improve library services in West Boise.  Nearly 1,000 Boise citizens signed this petition.  You are welcome to learn more about this effort at https://citizensforalibrary.org/west-boise.

Boise citizen signing the petition at Ustick in Bloom, June 10, 2023

This petition was presented to City Council at the Budget Hearing meeting on July 11th, 2023.  At this meeting, City Council approved funding for the library to create a new facilities plan, with help from an outside agency.

Development of a new facilities plan is in line with the Strategic Framework for Impact, https://www.boisepubliclibrary.org/about-us/strategic-planning/, a plan to guide efforts at Boise Public Library from 2024 to 2029. This framework was created after holding listening sessions with citizens and hosting an online survey in 2022.

Woman signing petition at Boise Albertson’s, Eagle & McMillan, July 8, 2023

The last facilities plan, created in 2000, called for the new branch libraries we have today: Cole & UStick, Hillcrest, Collister, and Bown Crossing.  It called for a new library downtown – which was ultimately rejected by citizens at the ballot in 2019.  Despite this setback, the library plan was successful in expanding access to libraries in nearly all parts of the city, putting a library within walking or biking distance of most citizens.  However, during this time, West Boise saw a reduction in library access: bookmobile service ceased in 2013.  Starting in 2022, Citizens in West Boise have been calling on city leaders to prioritize funding to build a library in West Boise too.

Molly Froerer, offering testimony in support of a library in West Boise, July 11, 2023

At a recent City Council meeting, February 6, 2024, City Council approved the selection of Group 4 Architecture to help create a new facilities plan for the Boise Library.  Group 4 Architecture was hired by the City of Spokane to help create the facilities plan which led to improvements in Spokane’s library system.  City Council members made it clear during this meeting that they want to see input from Boise citizens as this facilities plan is created.

We feel that physical libraries remain an important part of the services a city provides:

  • Printed Books.  It’s great that many books can be checked out in a digital format these days.  However, a physical library provides several advantages over an app on your phone.  The printed book selection is better, printed books cost libraries a fraction of the cost of digital forms.
  • Other Media.  Libraries offer other forms of media – music, movies, games.  Robotics kits, 3D printers, and if you go to the library branch in Eagle or Garden City, you’ll find a whole collection of interesting “things”!
  • Special Programming.  They provide unique programs for teenagers and young children.
  • Gathering Place.  Libraries provide a community gathering place, a space for meetings.
  • Access to Technology.  Libraries make technology accessible to everyone.
  • Education and Community Services.  Libraries provide a place where classes are taught, free legal and tax services are offered, and literacy programs.

In short, libraries enhance and build a community!

We hope that you’re as excited as we are about the next chapter in Boise’s library.

You might consider –

  • Visiting your closest Boise Library Branch, and or the downtown library.
  • Sending a message showing your support for Boise Libraries to your City Council Representative.
  • Sharing this message with members of your Neighborhood Association.


Centennial Neighborhood Association Board

Gary Dufault, President
Mark Salisbury, Member at Large

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