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Public invited to provide input on new North Fort Myers library

By Staff | Feb 5, 2015

North Cape reisdents who patronize the library in North Fort Myers have a chance to speak their mind on what they would like to see in a new facility.

The public is invited to attend a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center, where the community can provide input into what they would like to be included in a new North Fort Myers library.

This forum is sponsored by the North Fort Myers Library Task Force, made up of members of the Friends of the North Fort Myers Library, the North Fort Myers Civic Association, the Planning Panel and Chamber of Commerce.

Linda Yorde, who heads the task force, said it’s important that people come and let their opinion be heard.

“Funds are already accumulating and it is time to start planning for the programs and facilities you need and want in our new facility,” Yorde said.

In September 2013, the Board of County Commissioners raised the millage rate to construct libraries in Bonita Springs in North Fort Myers.

The library spent $49,000 on a study for the Bonita library. Yorde said she found that to be a waste of money.

“They had public hearings and community input, which is what the professional group did,” Yorde said. “We thought we would do the same thing without spending the money.”

Among the items expected to be asked for are more computers, more parking, e-books, hard books, natural lighting, as well as anything else the community wants.

After an opening session, participants will form smaller groups to discuss those ideas before getting back together to prioritize items.

“The task force will compile the results of that meeting and present them to county administration officials and eventually to the BOCC,” Yorde said.

At just under 9,000 square feet, the North library is one of the smallest libraries in the county system and has the fewest public use computers.

While the site and building schedule are yet to be determined. The new 25,000-square-foot, single-story library would almost triple the size of the old one at a cost of approximately $12.5 million.

After extensive research, the task force found it was less expensive in the long run to build a structure designed for a library as opposed to trying to retrofit an existing building.