The town of Irondequoit today asks voters whether to borrow up t $13 million to build a new central library at the Town Hall campus. The proposed 50,000 square foot facility would replace Irondequoit's two existing, smaller libraries, which haven't been updated since 1985, according to Irondequoit Public Library director Terry Buford.
Buford says demand for library services is increasing, despite the perception by some that the popularity of e-books could make libraries obsolete. "If you look at the library as the book palace, the book storage unit, that might be true. The library is a living thing that evolves to meet the needs of the community. Right now, libraries function sort of like the living room of the community. There are so many activities and things going on there for people of all ages. We need more room to do that, not less."
He says national surveys estimate that up to 80% of library patrons feel the library is an important resource to borrow books, but demand for on-line services has increased. "A lot of people still don't have broadband internet access, still don't own a computer, or they've had to cut that out of their lives due to economic difficulties. We have a large number of people who are trying to find a job, or get a better job and they have discovered that most employers only accept electronic applications."
If Irondequoit voters approve of the funding, Buford said planning for the new library would begin tomorrow. The town would seek architects through the request through proposal process, and include residents' input on the design. He said a new library would not open until late 2014 at the earliest. The polls are open until 9 p.m.