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City seeks public input on library
April 06, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

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The City of Gering is asking for ideas from the public on what they’d like to see in a future public library.

The survey has been distributed to residents in the city’s Talk of the Town newsletter.
Library Director Diane Downer said the city is considering a few different sites that would be suitable for an expanded library, but nothing definite has been decided. Potential sites are located in both the downtown area and in surrounding neighborhoods.

She said a site will need to be decided on before any design considerations can be done, such as whether the library will have one or two floors and other architectural considerations.

“One of the questions on the survey is whether people would like to see the library remain downtown or move out into one of the neighborhoods,” Downer said. “Right now, we’re just looking at what we can do because we need more space.”

The survey also asks what services residents want from the library. Topics include expanded use of technology, organized activities, and what types of books should be included in the library’s collection.

Downer said the survey will help the library board do some strategic planning on what a future library will be like.

She said even with more books available in digital form, hard copy books are still very popular. Consequently, the library needs more space to accommodate both an expanded book section and new computers.

“We also have quite a few people come in to read the newspapers and magazines,” Downer said. “Our circulation has been up in the last five years and it keeps growing each year.”

She said most of the increased circulation is from leisure reading. People doing research will normally use the Internet to find official documents. The library is also seeing an increase in e-reader devices.

“There’s a need for both hard copy and electronic books,” Downer said. “I think there still will be for the next 20 years or so, even if the technology keeps changing.”

Downer said she’d like to compile the survey results within the next few weeks and encourages everyone to return the survey so their ideas can be considered.
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