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May 23, 2018

5/9/2018 1:54:00 PM
A New La Conner Regional Library
A View Toward the Future

Years before moving to La Conner, I remember my first reaction upon seeing the wood-sided building painted blue with white trim on Morris, signed “La Conner Regional Library.”
What a statement about quality of life here, I thought, to have a library in a small community, a safe place that is open to everyone for exploring, learning, reading, discovery and inspiration. Not only was La Conner home to three unique museums, but it had a library located near the entrance to town, close to the schools, easy to walk to and on a bus line!
What I didn’t realize was that La Conner Regional Library serves a 25-mile radius, more than 4,700 residents. That includes the Town of La Conner, Shelter Bay, Swinomish Tribal Community, and unincorporated rural areas surrounding the town. The library shares the same boundaries as the La Conner School District.
There’s been a library here since 1927 when volunteers came together to make it happen. In 1993 local residents voted to form a library district to fund library operations. The former Hallmark card shop at 614 Morris Street was purchased and remodeled, and a librarian was hired.
Twenty-five years later, your library is maxed out in its 2,200 square foot building. Tight quarters make access to books, computers, study and kids’ areas difficult. It’s especially tough for anyone with mobility challenges. Without a meeting room, the library is strapped for space to have programs or respond to community requests for meetings. The bottom line: More space will allow the library to meet changing needs of our children and teens, mid-life, seniors, schools and businesses. The new library will fulfill a critical role as a community gathering place.
What are we doing about it? Exciting progress to report!
The current Library Thrift Shop at 6th and Morris (the future library site), run by Friends of the Library and Kiwanis, has seen steadily increased sales since opening in 2012. The Friends write a monthly check to the library for the mortgage on the property – a tremendous contribution.
In January the state of Washington approved a $500,000 grant for the project. Combined with contributions and assets, total funding for the new library project has reached $1.5 million. We have another $1.7 million to raise to achieve the $3.2 million goal, which includes the purchase of the new library site.
Here’s the catch: The state grant expires next June 30, 2019. Before it can be used, the library board must demonstrate that we have all funds committed to complete the project. That’s a big challenge for our small but mighty community.
Library Director Joy Neal and I thank you for your support of the new library project, and welcome your questions. Please contact us at 360-466-3352 or email me, smacek@lclib.lib.wa.us.
Here’s our view toward the future: It’s about a new library – the people’s place – your destination for life-long discovery and inspiration. Together we will make it happen.
Thank you!
Susan Macek is the director of the La Conner Library Foundation

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Published every Wednesday in La Conner Washington
Located at 119 North Third Street in La Conner. Mail: P.O Box 1465, La Conner WA, 98257. Phone: 360-466-3315

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