Library Director Pat Leach said the May 17, 2016 news release from the Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) regarding the future of Bennett Martin Public Library confuses the issue.
“We appreciate LIBA weighing in on the future of our main downtown library,” Leach said. “It is important to have a thorough debate on what we as a community want for Lincoln’s libraries. But it is essential that everyone has the same understanding of the issue.”
The central library project has been in the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) since 2006-2007, when it was listed as a $47.4 million bond project. In the ten years since then, the total estimate cost has been listed between $40 million and $50 million. “Because it costs money to hire a professional consultant to give an estimate, we went with rough numbers in earlier CIPs to plan for the future,” Leach said. “Over time, the estimated cost has changed as we have received updated information.”
Leach said the overall estimated cost of a new main library has NOT doubled as LIBA suggests in its release. LIBA cites a $21 million figure in the 2014-15 CIP and a $42 million figure in the proposed 2017-18 CIP. “What has changed is the analysis of a realistic fundraising goal,” said Leach. “When we discussed the 2014-16 CIP, City leaders hoped to raise more private donations to fund the project. The CIP showed $21 million in private donations and $21 million in general obligation bonds. After more analysis, we determined that $8 million in fundraising was a more appropriate number.”
Leach said the central library project costs are not new information. “Library Board members briefed LIBA Executive Director Coby Mach and over 100 LIBA members on the current cost estimate and the proposed funding at the July 2015 LIBA luncheon,” she said. “Our figures have been part of the public conversation for quite some time.”
The future of the Pershing site has not yet been decided. Although the latest cost estimates are “site-specific” to the Pershing block, no final decisions have been made. The City continues to have an open Invitation for Redevelopment Proposals for the Pershing site, but no financially viable proposals have yet been submitted.
“Ultimately, voters will have the final say on what they are willing to pay for a new library and where it will be located,” Leach said. “We can’t forget why this is a topic of discussion. Bennett Martin was built over 50 years ago, is in need of extensive repair, is no longer efficient to operate and no longer meets the needs of the community. That’s why the Library Board requested a public vote be held on a new downtown library in the next two years. This shows our commitment to continued excellence in library services.”
The six-year CIP is the part of the City budget that funds infrastructure like streets, water lines and buildings. The first two years are approved by the City Council as part of the City biennial budget process. Years three through six are used for planning long-range improvements.
Both the City-County Planning Commission and the City Council will have public hearings on the proposed 2016-2022 CIP as part of the budget process. More information about the CIP is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: cip).
This segment of “Moms Everyday” aired on KOLN/KGIN on February 6:
Search the Library catalog, place holds, and manage your account on your smartphone or tablet. My Account functions include a list of items currently checked out, current charges, the ability to renew items, and the ability to view pending and available holds. BookMyne is available for iOS (iphone, iPad, iPod Touch) devices. Download the User’s Guide here, or stop by any Lincoln City Libraries location to learn more, and for help finding and installing BookMyne.
Download the BookMyne app for free from the App Store.
This 1940 (silent) film about the services and facilities of Lincoln’s Libraries was recently rediscovered in the Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at the Bennett Martin Public Library. Enjoy this look at our history! The film runs about 20 minutes.
Mayor Chris Beutler today announced partnership between Lincoln City Libraries (LCL) and NebraskaLink to greatly improve LCL’s broadband capabilities. NebraskaLink successfully applied to the Public Services Commission (PSC) for $334,000 from the Nebraska Universal Service Fund to build connections from all eight library locations to the fiber network. The only cost to LCL will be for upgrading its own equipment.
LCL current operates with 20 megabits per second (Mpbs). Connecting to the fiber network will increase the capacity to 1 gigabit per second (1 Gpbs), a 1,000 percent improvement in bandwidth. The connectivity could increase to 10 Gpbs in the future.
“Connecting to the fiber network will give library customers much faster Internet service on wireless devices and on in-library computers,” Mayor Beutler said. “We are especially excited about how this will benefit Lincoln Public Schools as the District moves forward with providing tablets and other technology for students. The fiber connections will provide better wireless Internet for students outside of school. This partnership will help prepare our students for the workforce of tomorrow. I want to thank NebraskaLink, our excellent library system and the PSC for making this project possible.”
Library Director Pat Leach said the fiber connections allow LCL to access Internet through NetworkNebraska, an educational Internet provider also used by LPS. Students’ tablets will connect automatically to the LPS network when they enter an LCL location. “For low-income families with school-age children who do not have a broadband connection at home, the access provided by the Lincoln Library Network may be the only source of broadband Internet access available to the student,” Leach said.
“The Libraries’ plan to increase access to global information is critical for our students, who will use this infrastructure to support their learning that, increasingly, requires access to digital content,” said Kirk Langer, Chief Technology Officer for LPS. “This timely community partnership means LPS students can use the safe learning environment of the Lincoln City Libraries outside the school day. They will now have the type of network access necessary to support the devices LPS provides for students from third through twelfth grade.”
“NebraskaLink is thrilled with the opportunity the PSC’s Broadband Adoption Grant presents to partner with the Lincoln City Libraries and the City to deliver a long term connectivity solution offering the highest level of speed and reliability,” said Jason Axthelm, Vice President of Business Development for NebraskaLink. “We are especially pleased with the opportunity this project presents to provide connectivity to LPS students at the libraries and the cooperative connection to Network Nebraska.”
NebraskaLink will use 259,000 feet of existing fiber to complete the connection to the eight library locations. At a conservative lease rate of $58 per mile per month, NebraskaLink’s in-kind contribution to the project would total nearly $683,000. The goal is to have the network upgrade completed by the end of 2015.