There will be no construction of new library facilities soon — but, for now, the Daniel Boone Regional Library Board is willing to consider alternatives, such as space rental.
"My feeling is that at this point nothing is off the table," Melissa Carr, director of the Daniel Boone Regional Library said at the fifth public drop-in session held at Columbia Public Library Tuesday night.
The session drew fewer than 10 members of the community. Focusing on six different service priorities, the committee is hosting a range of drop-in sessions and gauging public opinion in order to formulate a strategy that will "map out a plan up to 2017," said Rosie Gerding, library trustee and chair of the long range planning committee.
"We are doing the strategic plan, and action will come from it," said Jim Loveless, library trustee and member of the long-range planning committee. He also said 2017 was chosen as the focus of the strategic plan because it was the first date the Daniel Booone Library District could be restructured.
The Daniel Boone Regional Library System consists of the Columbia Public Library, Southern Boone County Public Library and Callaway Public Library. Because of state statutes, the Columbia library is confined to the official city limits set in 1965.
Restructuring the libraries could provide many opportunities for the Daniel Boone Regional Library Board and citizens.
The burden of a 21-cent tax increase for property owners in the Southern Boone County Library to finance branch libraries for Ashland and Hallsville was handily defeated in April 2007, partly because many were not happy with only certain citizens footing the bill.
"There was no sharing of the expense," said Carr.
It is also in 2017 that the Columbia Public Library will be paid off, Gerding said.
Doris Phifer, a Columbia resident, attended Tuesday's meeting and shared her thoughts on the need for expansion throughout the county.
"I can't see a great big huge library, but I can see great, small, little community libraries in smaller neighborhoods," Phifer said.
For communities like Ashland and Hallsville, expansion is still an issue.
At drop-in sessions earlier this month in both Ashland and Hallsville, the public was positive and provided great input, Carr said.
"We did hear when we were in Hallsville, ‘We'd like to have a building,' and Ashland needed more space," Carr said.
While the board intends to address these concerns, any construction is still a long way off.
"The board got the message very clearly from the electorate that construction was not high on the list," Loveless said.