The Normal Public Library is growing, and running out of space. (B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
NORMAL - What are the challenges and issues facing the Normal Public Library?
It's a continuing point of discussion for the library board, starting with a growing library and a lack of space.
Director Brian Chase said for at least two years, the board has been considering a possible move. There have been suggestions of partnering with the Bloomington Public Library, creating a second Normal branch or moving entirely.
Chase said the board has decided on minimal investment in the current site and no library branches, which leaves an eventual move. But, the board isn't anywhere near making that decision yet.
"We're moving very slowly and deliberately," Chase said. "One thing that we hope would help is we created the Normal Public Library Foundation just last year, and it's had a few meetings now and is getting traction."
Chase said the location now is central, but any future design has to meet a variety of objectives. The library board met in a work session a couple of weeks ago to discuss goal setting and future library issues. Chase said users want new technology but a classic library.
"So, we're trying to really look at having the appropriate size collection, the appropriate depth and breadth of materials to offer, but also service, programs and technologies. So, that's a challenge, Chase said.
E-books are one of the growing technologies affecting libraries. Chase said a lot of standards from five years ago have lost relevancy because of changes in technology.
"There's a lot of challenges with certain publishers that will not sell e-books to libraries to loan out," Chase said. "If we bought every e-book out there right now we wouldn't even get 50 percent of the e-books available because of the publisher restrictions."