News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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June 21, 2011

West Terre Haute library branch may be moving

5,500 square foot building being considered

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Public Library is looking into the possibility of moving its West Terre Haute branch into a new building.

The library board voted Monday night to investigate a recent proposal from the West Vigo Community Center that would result in the VCPL moving its West Terre Haute branch into a building that currently houses the community center’s daycare facility.

Library officials toured the daycare facility building last week, VCPL Director Nancy Dowell said. The library board was also shown photographs of the daycare facility during Monday’s meeting.

The daycare facility is about 5,500 square feet while the existing library branch is just 1,100 square feet, library officials said. No price for the building has yet been proposed, Dowell said.

The library board has long discussed improving its West Terre Haute branch, which was the only branch location that did not close due to budget cuts in 2009.

In 2010, library officials were hopeful that a new West Terre Haute branch could be combined with a wetlands observation building at Dewey Point on the east end of U.S. 40 in West Terre Haute. At the time, local economic development officials were hoping to obtain up to $500,000 in a federal grant for the proposed facility.

However, at Monday’s board meeting, optimism that any federal funding for the proposed building seemed to have completely faded away. In fact, the board voted not to further pursue building a branch at Dewey Point. The only way the idea could reemerge would be if a generous donor would make the project possible, Dowell said.

In 2006, the library board commissioned an architect to draw plans for a new West Terre Haute library branch, which is at 626 W. National Ave. At that time, the cost of such as facility was estimated to be between $700,000 and $800,000, Dowell said.

• Also Monday evening, the library board received an update on a current project to improve energy efficiency at the library’s main branch. The $650,000 upgrade, which includes changing all of the windows in the building, is expected to save the library at least $50,000 per year in electricity bills, Dowell said.

• The board voted without opposition Monday to approve becoming a test facility for a new generation of library card catalogue software known as SIERRA ILS, which will eventually replace the library’s aging, current system. Agreeing to be just one of 10 test facilities will allow the library to save significantly on the software costs, library officials said.

The VCPL board voted to spend $35,000 over the next two years on the SIERRA software, which it will share with libraries at Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Finally, the library board also learned Monday that the Vigo County Federal Credit union is again making annual subscriptions to nearly 20 different magazines available to the library. The credit union has been providing subscriptions to numerous periodicals for many years, a library official noted. Some of the magazines provided by the credit union include Boating World, Lucky, Motorcyclist, Psychology today, Self, Whole Living and Wine Enthusiast.

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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