F.A.Q.

About the Springfield Library

  • Is a whole new building necessary? Could we just remodel?
    • This option was presented when looking at new building locations. The needs assessment determined that a building of approximately 56,000 sq ft is needed. It was found that remodeling and adding space below the existing library as well as expanding to the west would be as expensive as a new building. This is in part due to the fact that this building would have to be brought up to code, specifically with regards to seismic structural design. In addition, there would be costs involved in rehousing and establishing a temporary location for the library.
  • Where would the new library be located?
    • City Council has decided on a location directly across the street from the current City Hall and Library where the Carter Building is located and the adjacent parking lot. This is along 5th street between North A and B Streets, along the west side of the street. The City already owns this property which makes the project more affordable.
  • Are there seismic concerns? 
    • The new building will be built to code with the most current seismic technology. There are concerns about the seismic condition of the current library, but a formal seismic upgrade has not been conducted.
  • Should we be worried about asbestos?
    • The new building will not use asbestos. City Hall – the current location — does not contain asbestos as far as the facilities manager is aware.
  • What is the projected cost for a new library? How would that be funded?
    • Although plans are not definite yet, the current project plan has an approximate cost is $35 million. This is for an approximately 62K sq ft, three- story building. Approximately 3,500 sq ft is commercial space to be leased to an outside party as a revenue source. The cost estimate includes technology for the library.
    • How would that be funded? The current plan is to raise approximately $1.6 million from private and corporate donations through a capital campaign. The funds for the building would be raised by means of a bond measure, which the City Council may place on a 2019 ballot.
    • The bond measure would be a request for an increase in property taxes of .50 per $1000 assessed value of a home, or $100 a year for a $200,000 home.
  • What kind of collaboration happens between the library and the school district?
    • The library works to provide support for Springfield Public Schools (SPS) students and staff:
      • Library cards are provided to all SPS students. Students and their families who live outside the City limits are able to get no cost cards thanks to a three-year Library Services and Technology grant that Springfield Public Library (SPL) received from the State Library. We are now establishing sustainable funding to make it an ongoing program.
      • Teacher cards are provided to all SPS teaching staff for curriculum use.
      • Curriculum support materials are purchased to support classroom work. Library staff works with school staff to purchase materials that support student work in the classroom. The library has curriculum bins and book sets available for check out. These were designed with the help of teacher input.
      • Teachers can request materials from the library that can be sent to their classroom using the school courier.
      • The library provides Tinker Tech Kits for check out. These are collections of technology tools (robots, coding, electronics) to be used in the classroom.
      • The library conducts tours for classes that introduce students to the library and available materials and resources that can be checked out or accessed electronically.
      • The library does classroom visits to do storytimes, book talks, promote the library, or demonstrate information literacy skills.
      • The library staff attends Family Nights and other special events to talk to students and families about the library, and its programs and resources.
      • The library plans STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) programming to support the school district STEAM curriculum.
      • The library provides Brainfuse an online tutoring database, and Tumblebooks, an ebook resource for kids. These databases are accessible with a library card.
      • The library provides Spanish language materials and support in Spanish to the dual immersion school and English Language Learners.
  • What role will a library play in a non-print world? For example, in 2030?
    • Print is still the preferred media for most readers and shows no sign of disappearing. Recent studies have shown that the rising millennial generation is more like to read than any other age group and that they prefer print over digital. However, for those who do enjoy reading and listening in digital formats, the library provides free access to a growing collection of eBooks and eAudio books available 24/7 from anywhere with internet.
    • In an increasingly online world, people are looking for ways to build community. Programming has become an important part of library services. Program attendance has increased by 500%. In addition, community and private meeting spaces are heavily used by outside groups.
    • Providing places for people to come and use their own technology is incorporated into the design of a new building, with adequate infrastructure for plugging into electricity as well as access to WiFi.
  • What economic impact does the library have for downtown? For all of Springfield?
    • With over 160,000 visits to the library last year, the library brings a lot of foot traffic downtown. When people come downtown they also frequent other locations.
    • The library impacts the economic growth for all of Springfield by supporting literacy skills, job development, and access to technology. The library provides literacy engagement for all ages, resources for job searches and career development, tools for small business, and programs like our Teen Entrepreneur program. Thus, the library impacts the local economy by helping prepare the work force and giving them the tools they need to be successful.
  • How can or will the library collaborate with other community partners like Lane Community College, the Chamber of Commerce, workforce development, etc?
    • The library currently partners with all of these groups in various ways. A new library would give greater opportunity to expand these partnerships. We have had discussions with both the Chamber and LCC regarding partnerships in the new building. Nothing has been decided, but there is a lot of possibility.
  • What happens if we do not get a new library – what is plan B?
    • The Library will examine what we can continue to provide in our current location. This may mean cutting back some of what we offer our community, particularly with regard to programming.
  • How will the library avoid the homeless issues present at the Eugene library?
    • We plan to convene a committee that includes people in the community that work with the unhoused or people in transition, as well as people who have or currently are experiencing homelessness. This group will work from the beginning to help establish policies that welcome everyone to the library but also ensure that everyone finds the facility welcoming. We want everyone to want to come and use their library and feel safe and welcome.
  • How will the library sustain the increased operating budget?
    • We are currently looking at different options on how to fund the ongoing costs of a new library.
    • We could potentially ask for an operating levy after the library is built that would cost $50 a year in property taxes for an average home.
  • Do we need more civic or community meeting space in downtown Springfield?
    • Yes. There are not a lot of available spaces in Springfield for community groups and organizations. We regularly receive requests in our current location that we cannot accommodate.
  • How much community meeting space will there be?
    • A new library would address this issue with a large event room, smaller meeting rooms and study rooms.
    • The first floor would have a program room as well as a computer lab. Ideally, this space could be available outside of library open hours as well.
    • An enclosed teen space and movable shelving in the children’s area would create additional space for larger programs as well as a storytime area.
  • How will you preserve the ambiance of our current library in a new building or space?
    • We would be moving our helpful staff and welcoming cozy ambiance to a new location. The building will change, but our attitude of what a library should be will not. We will create warm and welcoming spaces in the new location.
  • How are you linking the history museum to the library expansion plans?
    • Since taking on oversight of the Springfield museum, we have developed cross-promotion and programming that will continue. There is also an area in the new building for an Oregon History room which would display artifacts and museum collections on a rotating basis.
  • Why can’t you just relocate some of the city staff and remodel what you have?
    • There isn’t a location to relocate city staff. And there is not enough room in City Hall to achieve the square footage that has been identified as what is needed for the library to meet the needs of the growing community now and into the future.
    • The current location, built as a mall in the late 1970s, does not easily accommodate the technology of today. The building is concrete, making it difficult and expensive to wire the site for current technology.
    • Remodeling the current location would not address our need for a street level entrance to address our accessibility issues. A street-level presence would make the library easier to locate and easier to access for people with altered mobility.
  • What is the timeframe for a completing a new library?
    • The timeline is not definite. If voters were presented with and passed a bond in November of 2019, we would hope to be in the new building in 2023.
  • What will become of the current space?
    • The space would be used by other City departments or leased to another agency.
  • What about parking?
    • We would have the same parking options that we currently have. Free parking is available in the Library Parking Lot, the City Hall Lot along Main Street, and on the street. There is paid parking available across from the Justice Center. City Code at this time states that current parking is sufficient for the downtown expansion.  
  • How long would the library be closed during construction?
    • Because we do not have a timeline for construction of the building yet, we do not know how long the library would need to be closed. One positive of a new building is that it allows the old facility to operate until the transition period, which could be quite short. Remodeling would require an extended closure.
  • What information can the library provide that I can’t get on with a Google search?
    • The library offers one-on-one personal assistance to help you navigate, brainstorm, and sort through those things you seek out online.
    • We purchase online databases which are only accessible with a library card, such as:
      • BrainFuse which provides real-time tutoring services, resume help, homework help and job search resources.  
      • AutoMate for DIY auto repair instructions and wiring diagrams.
      • A to Z World Food with 1,000s of recipes and information about food from around the world.
    • Downloadable eBooks, eAudiobooks and music with Overdrive and Freegal. With your card you have access to thousands of items, without paying anything other than your taxes.

New Library Open Houses

Our open houses were a great success. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Together with the community, the City and the Library are exploring the option of a new library. Feedback will be very important, and we invite you to participate. Get started by attending an Open House and tour of the current space in the City Hall building.

Jan 28, 6:30pm

Feb 2, 3:00pm

Feb 13, 11:00am

Feb 16, 3:00pm

All events begin in the Library Meeting Room, at 225 5th Street. Refreshments will be provided.

Who visits our Library?

More than 160,000 visits were logged in 2017.  Teens and children are the most frequent visitors.

More than 20,000 computer sessions were logged in 2017.

More than 22,000 people participated in 363 Youth and Teen programs in 2017.  (Even more could be served if more space was available.)

Springfield Library Data

A New Library?

A new Springfield Library promises:

  • An Entrance from Street-Level
  • Better technology and connectivity
  • Better plumbing and electric
  • Better foundation and masonry
  • Flexible programming spaces
  • Computer Lab
  • Better quiet spaces, that can co-exist with program areas
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Video-Conferencing
  •  Better spaces for material management and collection storage