A new Washougal library: What do citizens think?

In recent months, a dedicated group of Washougal residents, primarily members of the Friends of the Washougal Community Library, have been working to drum up support for finding an existing space or constructing a new building that would be offer a bigger, better location for the Washougal Community Library.

The current facility, operated by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, is housed in a 2,400 square foot space adjacent to the Washougal Community Center in the City Hall complex. Approximately 1,800 square feet is dedicated to public use, while the remainder is reserved for staff space and storage.

Current Washougal Librarian Christine Hughey described the library’s current situation as “splitting at the seams.” And, during a recent meeting, FVRL Director Nancy Tessman commented that the Washougal location needs “a larger, better space and room to grow.”

Wish list items mentioned for a new facility have included meeting rooms, a children’s area, more computers, reading areas, comfortable chairs, staff offices, an early learning center and space for a gallery.

Now, the friends would like to gauge if there is broader community support for such a facility with the help of a survey that will be distributed to residents of the 98671 zip code.

A library that offers a variety of activities, services and options can truly be the heart of a community, but as any library director who has run a new facility campaign will say, success only comes if there is substantial and passionate support from the citizens that it will serve. This survey is just one method of weighing that support, and those who receive the questionnaires should make the effort to take just a few minutes to let the Friends of the Washougal Community Library know exactly what they think — good or bad, for or against. It’s a chance for citizens in this small but slowly developing and changing town to have their say in what could be an integral part of its future.