FVRL director discusses new library options in Washougal

Nancy Tessman visits local branch

As members of the Friends of the Washougal Community Library continue to support the idea of a new library, there are discussions regarding whether it would be beneficial to sign a lease at Washougal Town Square or wait to build.

Nancy Tessman, the new executive director of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, recently walked through one of the vacant spaces at Washougal Town Square.

“It has very nice elements,” she said during a recent Friends meeting.

An alternative to leasing could involve constructing a library on city-owned property near City Hall. No particular site has been discussed, according to Washougal Mayor Sean Guard.

He, as well as City Council members Jennifer McDaniel and Paul Greenlee, Planning Commissioner Larry White and Interim Community Development Director Mitch Kneipp, also attended the recent Friends meeting.

“You really do need a larger, better space and room to grow,” Tessman said.

She said new libraries attract businesses and economic development.

“A really good library is the heart of the community,” Tessman added.

Gayla Marple, chair of the Friends membership committee, mentioned that the Battle Ground Library was constructed without the need for a voter-approved bond issue.

“In Washougal, it’s not going to be easy to get more taxes,” she said.

“People are responsive,” Tessman said. “A library serves everyone.

“There needs to be transparency about the cost to operate it,” she added.

Tessman encouraged Friends of the Library members to communicate with a variety of people about the potential for a new library.

“Do not just talk to the converted,” she said. “Talk to kids and teenagers.”

Tessman said she was excited to hear about the long term option of constructing a library on city property. A bond issue could be voted on in 2013, and design and construction would take three years.

“We will pay attention to Washougal and Woodland,” Tessman said, regarding the FVRL facilities plan. “You are very much on our radar.”

A progress report regarding the potential of a new library will be included in the next Friends meeting Thursday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m., in the library, 1661 “C” St. For more information, call 835-5393.