Community

Port Orchard Library waits to relocate

Kathleen Wilson, manager of the Port Orchard Branch of the Kitsap Regional Library, hopes to soon move operations to a larger building. - Charlie Bermant/Staff Photo
Kathleen Wilson, manager of the Port Orchard Branch of the Kitsap Regional Library, hopes to soon move operations to a larger building.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant/Staff Photo

The Port Orchard Library is in dire need of immediate repair and eventual replacement, but the staff is prepared to wait the several years it will take in order to design and construct a new building.

KRL presented its “State of the Library” address in front of the Port Orchard City Council on Tuesday night.

“There are several issues that will come to the forefront in the next few years,” said Head Librarian Kathleen Wilson. “We are glad that the council has committed itself to a larger library.”

Kitsap Regional Libraries report that the waterfront building, which is owned by the city, is a major downtown draw. It attracts 229,000 people a year (19,000 a month), and many visitors patronize Bay Street Businesses, according to KRL Director Jill Jean.

Even if the current facility is woefully inadequate, Jean feels that it is important to stay downtown.

Efforts to move it to a temporary location, such as Givens Center, are unwise, according to Jean.

Aside from leaving downtown, it increases expenses by causing the library to move twice.

Also unfeasible is the idea to move it to another downtown building.

“There are some people who want us to move into the second floor of a downtown building,” Jean said. “They have no idea the kind of load limit that a library requires with all the books.”

Additionally, a modern library requires a complicated network wiring system in order to accommodate its use as an Internet access point.

The solution, then, is to wait until the city constructs a new library building, even if it takes five years.

The new Port Orchard Library is a key part of downtown revitalization.

Currently, it is designated to sit atop a parking garage, slotted for Prospect St. This isn’t a done deal. Land needs to be acquired, followed by building design and construction. Funding sources are also uncertain.

Even with all this uncertainty, the library hopes to maintain its status as the biggest draw to downtown.

Budget cuts have forced the library to cut back hours, but it is still open seven days a week for a total of 50 hours.

For more information go to www.kirl.org or call the Port Orchard Library directly at (360) 876-2224.

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