GENEVA – Following the Geneva Library Board’s decision last weekend not to proceed with the purchase of the Cetron property, 7 Richards St., for the site of a new library, the board Thursday pondered what to do about the library’s future.
Board president Esther Steel said she asked Library Director Matt Teske to put a presentation together on services the library should or could be doing, but are not because of space issues.
“We had a good discussion among department heads and started working,” Teske said. “Some things might be limited by the building. We are in the process now of coming up with ideas and will have a presentation for you at the October board meeting.”
Trustee Robert Shiffler said he would like to see what the basics are of providing library services – room for books, room for staff and circulation.
“What do we really need in a library once we have that and prioritize it,” Shiffler said. “Is there a way to make this building work?”
But trustee Susan Shivers said she wanted to know what Teske’s vision was for the library and ideas of what he could do with a new building.
“When I was on school board, it wasn’t, ‘Gee we need a new school building.’ The superintendent gave us 500 reasons why we needed a new school and 500 things he could do with a new building,” Shivers said. “Ultimately, a library architect might want to take a look after we get the director’s vision. He is the director. He is supposed to direct. It’s up to him.”
Trustee Patricia Lord said she favored getting a library services survey back in play.
“We’ve been holding off on surveys. Let’s get the darn survey done,” Lord said. “Our customers need to weigh in … It is about what our patrons want.”
Steel said she could see forums to get library patrons’ views of what they want to see in services. But Shivers countered that the board did not need a wish list, but a vision.
“Susan is absolutely right,” Steel said.
In the past, surveyed patrons said their top complaint was no parking.
“I know a college student who won’t come here to study because it’s too noisy and no parking,” Steel said. “There is nowhere to sit quietly to study. She is a Geneva resident and a Geneva grad and the number one reason she does not come here is it’s too much [of a] pain in the butt to find parking.”
Resident Margaret Johnston, who also is a retired library employee, said parking is essential.
“Any other library you go to, they have parking,” Johnston told the board.
Shiffler suggested that one way to ensure the library stays downtown would be to tear it down and build a new one.
“A new building versus the current place – maybe there are things we can do in this place … or tear the building down and start over,” Shiffler said. “This would satisfy some people who like the location, but disfavored by those who like the building.”
The board also met in closed session to review other properties that might be suitable for a new library location.