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NORTH BEND — The North Bend Public Library is inviting community members to participate in its first renovation planning meeting Tuesday, Sept. 17, in downtown North Bend.

The event, which is from 5:30-7 p.m., will give locals the chance to learn more about the library’s ongoing efforts to renovate and update its 30-year-old facility, as well as provide an opportunity for community members to give their input.

Haley Lagasse, the director of library services, said talks to renovate the facility began almost a year ago as staff members began noticing more signs of its aging infrastructure.

“Our library has been loved to death,” said Lagasse. “It’s been very well cared for and I could definitely see that maintenance of this facility has been a priority for this community, but like any public place that is 30 years old, we have to make improvements.”

Since opening its doors in 1989, the library’s collection and attendance has grown significantly. With limited space and over 80,000 items in its collection, staff members have had to put up extra shelving in areas once used for sitting or studying, said Lagasse.

“We also have a high demand for our public meeting spaces and currently those spaces are at capacity,” she said. “It is a need we are considering during the design process.”

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With about 500 visitors a day and its programs growing in popularity, Lagasse added the need for extra space is more important now than ever.

Last month, the library received approval from North Bend city councilors to contract with Robertson Sherwood Architects, a Eugene-based company, to perform a facility assessment and design plan for the library’s renovations. With a contract not to exceed $85,209, the city is paying for the services using money from its Library Donation Fund.

The first renovation meeting at the North Bend Public Library, located on 1800 Sherman Ave., will also feature a question-and-answer portion with architects and library staff regarding the overall project.

“We plan on holding a number of community meetings seeking input from residents about what they would like to see from their library what kind of services they are interested in,” said Lagasse.

For those unable to attend the meeting, Lagasse said community members can still provide input by taking part in a survey available at both its facility downtown and online.

“The North Bend Public Library is highly valued in the community and it’s a very popular place for people to visit for a variety of different reasons,” said Lagasse. “It’s really exciting that the library, its staff and the community are undertaking this process together.”

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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