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Front Page » March 13, 2008 » Local News » Helper City Council Ok's Library Plan
Published 2,770 days ago

Helper City Council Ok's Library Plan

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Sun Advocate reporter

Advisory committee submits document to city for review, approval

Amanda Holley, library director and Mark Wickman, library advisory committee chairman, found strategic planning quite fun when they convened Feb. 9 at a special meeting to vision Helper library's future.

It only took moments for the Helper City Council to approve a plan that was months in the making at their March 6 meeting.

Members of the city's new library advisory committee came prepared for a thorough discussion and seemed surprised that the council acted so quickly on the strategic plan.

"This is a necessary step in the state library certification process," Councilman Dean Armstrong told his colleagues. "We came up with this after holding a stakeholder's meeting and talked about the library's future."

Armstrong was present when a small group gathered Feb. 9 to work with Rose Frost, a representative from the Utah State Library System.

The half-day community forum went step-by-step through the planning stages for creating the plan presented at the last council meeting.

"The advisory board took the information from that grassroots effort to create this plan," Armstrong said.

With nary a glance the rest of the council voted unanimously to approve the plan.

However, the library advisory board members hung around to the end of the meeting as they didn't seem secure with the quick approval.

At the end of the night after all the agenda items had been cleared, Mark Wickman, the advisory committee chair asked for their item to be reopened. A little more discussion took place.

By that time the committee members had been joined by Amanda Holley, the library's director.

"What do you think of what we put in the plan?" Wickman asked. "We are looking for your help in the process of developing the economic aspects of the plan."

Dalpiaz asked Wickman and his comrades what they would suggest in terms of the budget process and commented they seemed to cover all the bases.

"Your plan looked very comprehensive," he said. "You need to tell us what the next step is."

Armstrong, who is the council member assigned to work with the library, said they needed to come up with a process for the board and the council to prioritize items.

"We need to come up with a budget for improvements to roll into the prioritization process," he said.

Holley pushed the point a little further with the council. She told them that the top priority to come out of the strategic planning meeting was making the library a more comfortable place.

"This is going to cost," she said.

Holley mentioned a couple of the needs to make the facility more amenable, including adding 14 more feet of space and getting heat to the lounge area.

When the council members heard that there was no heat in the area where the overstuffed chairs are they seemed surprised.

They turned to Orlando Ochoa, the maintenance supervisor for some ideas.

Another radiator, small heaters and even knocking out a wall in the community room and moving the library in 14 feet came as fairly feasible ideas.

Library planning hit the fast track Jan. 3 when Armstrong and Holley appeared at the council meeting to explain why the library had to do a strategic long range plan.

Several factors had led to Helper's facility losing its state certification. The situation left the city without the ability to apply for certain grants and programs.

However, with Holley on board the finer points that were being missed were under control.

The 19-year-old exuding energy and enthusiasm has dug in and started making things happen. The Feb. 9 forum took the process to the next step and helped clarify what Helper needs from its library. The top three priorities from that meeting were comfort, strong Internet connections and comprehensive community resources.

Helper City Council meets March 20 at 6 p.m. at the auditorium. For more information call Jona Skerl at 472-5391.

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