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Other views: Library measure deserves support from Fargo voters

On the Nov. 2 ballot, the very last measure will be a Home Rule Charter amendment which proposes to enact a one-half-cent sales tax for 18 months for the purpose of expanding library facilities.

On the Nov. 2 ballot, the very last measure will be a Home Rule Charter amendment which proposes to enact a one-half-cent sales tax for 18 months for the purpose of expanding library facilities.

If the measure passes by a 60 percent majority of the voters, the 18-month tax will generate $12 million to be used to expand, acquire and provide facilities, materials and technology to meet the minimum needs of library patrons. The plans include something for everyone: a downtown library of 45,000 square feet instead of 31,000 square feet at present; 15,000 square feet at Southpointe instead of 3,300 at present; and 2,500 square feet in north Fargo instead of the book drop now in place.

In addition to the facilities upgrading, it will include 270,000 books/items instead of 160,800; 324 seats rather than 106; 11 study rooms which are now nonexistent; 100 computer/Internet stations instead of 36; and 206 parking spaces instead of 48. It sounds so good, but it will be bringing the Fargo Public Library up to minimum standards of the American Library Association.

When our family moved to Fargo in 1966, the library was just two weeks old. It seemed so big and so adequate for the needs of the citizens. And it was. But it was designed to serve a city of 54,000. In 2000, Fargo's population had reached 90,599. By the year 2020, it is expected to reach 108,000. When the library first opened it doors in 1964, it was designed to serve patrons of the Fargo Public Library until the year 2000. We have outgrown its space.

In March of 1995, an energetic group of library supporters organized a branch of Friends of the Library USA. Former City Commissioner Jean Rayl served as the first president of Friends. This organization is alive and healthy and works to promote the functions, resources, services and needs of the Fargo Public Library. As a part of our mission, we also "encourage and assist in the extension and improvement of the library's service." Friends of the Fargo Public Library encourage a yes vote for the Home Rule Charter amendment.

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A group of citizens are serving on Citizens for Better Libraries, a volunteer committee of over a dozen individuals who are advocating for passage of the Home Rule Charter amendment. The committee is chaired by Virginia Dambach. A Web site is available for you to visit at www.newfargolibrary.com where you will be able to find more information about the Home Rule Charter amendment.

Quamme, of Fargo, is president of Friends of the Fargo Public Library

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