The Centennial Neighborhood Association applauds the continued progress made by “Citizens for a Library” to establish a library facility in west Boise. “Citizens for a Library” founder, Mark Salisbury along with Jennifer Gravel, a life-long library patron and a long-time advocate, presented testimony, and the organization’s formal petition for locating a public library in west Boise. Our Centennial Neighborhood sits in the middle of this underserved area and formally supports “Citizens for a Library” and its efforts.
A discussion and questions by library board members followed the presentation. While board members expressed skepticism as to any ability to impact funding for the FY 2024 fiscal year, which begins October 1st, it was clear that Mark and Jennifer made a positive impression.
West Boise / East Meridian Needs a Library Too!
Your Centennial Neighborhood Association supports the need for Boise to have a library closer to the citizens of West Boise. Ideally libraries are within walking or at least biking distance. “The Library!” at Cole & Ustick is more than five miles away from parts of our Neighborhood Association. Many citizens of Boise live within 1 mile of a library, and most are within two miles. “?” West Boise stands alone in a “library desert”!
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
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.
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!
West Boise Library Petition Presentation and testimony to be given this Tuesday, July 11th, at the City Council Budget Meeting
This Tuesday, July 11th, Boise City Council is meeting at the Boise City Hall at 6 PM to review the FY’24 budget. Several of our neighborhood association members will present a petition to improve library coverage in West Boise. We invite you to come and support this too.
If you plan to attend Tuesday’s meeting in-person you can sign up to testify at City Hall before the meeting. The earlier you sign up the earlier you will be able to testify. Note the start time for the meeting is 6 PM. Testimony is limited to three minutes per person testifying.
Many, if not most of us, have firsthand experiences or stories that reflect how important public libraries are to ourselves and our families. Consider if you have a story to tell that reflects on better access to a public library in west Boise.
We all pay equal taxes to support libraries, but we don’t have equitable access.
Cost Efficiency, Expediency West YMCA
A new, dedicated building would be preferred but we recognize this is expensive, the quickest most efficient path to improve access would be to lease space in an existing building. This could be done near the West YMCA in the Boise Research Center or other retail locations that have become vacant due to a trend away from brick-and-mortar retail.
We want Boise to be more walkable and bikeable. Part of making it more walkable and bikeable is having places to walk and bike to, within a reasonable distance.
Not Just Parks
We have good access to parks, for which we are grateful, but parks are not the only city service we care about.
When the library study is completed in a year, the same coverage gap will exist. Can we not recognize this and begin to act now?
The study doesn’t need to be completed to see where we have poor coverage. It’s obvious to anyone when they look at a coverage map of Boise.
Action we could take now: Step 1) research different options – we can tell you about them, we know West Boise, we live there. Step 2) purchase land. Can we include money from this year’s budget to purchase land for a library in West Boise?
We’ve identified locations near West Boise MacDevitt Park. We Don’t want to name it publicly. We’ve seen other potential locations disappear due to development. Great locations have been disappearing, West Boise is developed.
It’s important to act sooner than later, as available space is only going away.
Our great supporters out gathering petition signers!
This morning (July 8) neighborhood association members collected signatures in support of this petition at Albertson’s at Eagle and McMillan. You can sign this petition online at https://citizensforalibrary.org/west-boise. Tammy and Jeremy Rampton along with their daughter, Eve, and Clair Salisbury gather petition signatures outside Albertsons at McMillan and Eagle Road. We want to thank our local Albertsons for being a great supporter of Centennial Neighborhood.
West Boise Needs a Library Too – Door-To-Door Campaign Kicks Off Saturday, May 13, 2023
At our most recent board meeting, we agreed that having a library within or closer to our neighborhood would be a tremendous boost to our community. Supporters of this initiative will be going door to door on Saturday at 1:30 PM to collect signatures and distribute flyers. If you would like to help, please sign up here:
Mark Salisbury updated CTNA tonight on the library meeting that was hosted by Mark and his wife, Amanda, last night.
“We had a great meeting last night! I’ve started working on a presentation for the library board / city council, which I shared with everyone who was present. I got some valuable feedback – thanks everyone who was here for your ideas. We got a little more organization, with several people volunteering to help this effort in a variety of ways. I’m excited to see where we go.
And the pie — lots of pie, it was delicious.
If you believe having a library nearby is worth some effort, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks especially to Amanda Salisbury for all your help “
Your Centennial Neighborhood Association supports the need for Boise to have a library closer to the citizens of West Boise. Ideally libraries are within walking or at least biking distance. The Library! at Cole & Ustick is more than five miles away from parts of our Neighborhood Association. Many citizens of Boise live within 1 mile of a library, and most are within two miles. “?” West Boise stands alone in a “library desert”!
If you are interested in supporting this effort, help is needed. You can help in the following ways: