Thursday, June 19, 2008

Congratulations Girdwood

Congratulations to the people of Girdwood! This community of 2,000, near the Alyeska ski resort, just opened a brand new library. The stone and timber building fits in perfectly with the setting, and it looks just like a lodge. At 9,100 ft² it will provide plenty of room for reading, relaxing, and enjoying the various services that libraries offer.
I could point out that it is 50% larger than the Ketchikan Public Library, even though the population of Girdwood is 6½ times smaller than Ketchikan, but if you know anything about our library here in Ketchikan, you know that we are already crammed to the gills. In fact, let me take the opportunity to drop a few statistics:
1. Ketchikan is the 4th-largest community in the state of Alaska
2. There are 16 communities in Alaska with bigger libraries than Ketchikan. Whoops! Forgot about Girdwood - make that 17 communities.
3. The circulation rate of the Ketchikan Public Library is twice the state average (12.23 items per person, per year. The circulation rate of the Los Angeles library is 3.97, Boston is 4.27, Phoenix is 8.71, and San Francisco is 9.11. Seattle beats us out with a rate of 13.01)
4. We are doing all of this brisk library business in a building that supplies the least amount of square feet per person (looking at the 30 largest communities in the state). We have less room per capita than Willow, Talkeetna, Tok, Craig, Barrow, Anchor Point, Sutton, Wrangell and 21 other towns.
How do we build a new library? With public support and public comment. You know who to call. (And if you don't, we can find that information for you. We're a library - that's what we do.)

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