The Provo Library Board is anxious to work with the city to implement suggestions by a library consulting firm to improve the Provo City Library.
Board Chairman Larry Bluth told the board Wednesday that he had a hard time being critical of the library building. "I've been on the library board just long enough to know we have a darn good building."The library has been on a "shake-down cruise," Bluth said, and some problems have been found. He said the consultant's report is a "blessing" by suggesting solutions to problems.
The library building analysis was prepared by the Dallas library consulting firm HBW Associates Inc. Library director Howard Downey said the principal consultant, Richard L. Waters, "goes coast to coast commenting on library buildings."
Waters was contacted so the city could use his expertise in making better use of the library facility, Downey said.
The major problems identified are accessibility, noise and space.
Waters suggested rearranging for better use of space. He said opening up a large section downstairs for a children's library would also reduce the noise level on the main library floor.
Downey gave the board sketches of proposed floor plans that incorporate many of Waters' suggestions. Project Read would be moved upstairs under the new plan. There would also be room for more books.
Several rooms downstairs would be removed to make way for a 3,125-square-foot children's section. Rooms eliminated include storage rooms, a classroom and the computer center. Downey said the computer area will be vacant after December because a new system will utilize a mainframe computer at another location.
The Parent Education Resource Center will be part of the expanded children's section.
Bluth appointed board members Dean Hughes, Terry Ann Harward and John Beal to a committee to make recommendations on the priorities for library improvements. The recommendations will be forwarded to the Provo City Council.
Five Provo residents attended the board meeting to comment on the library. A recently retired woman commented on the lack of accessibility. "I came to the library for the first time last week and was appalled at the entrance."
She said the amphitheater looked like a millionaire donor had a pile of concrete to get rid of and the library had to take it. "The handicap maze was unbelievable," she said.
Maurice P. Marchant said the library wasn't built to specifications.
Bluth said the problems with construction are history now. "We've got what we've got." The best thing for the patrons of the library is to set short-term, midterm and long-term goals for improvement, Bluth said.