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Citizens Say Patrons & Books are Low-Priority at Lewiston Library

LEW LIBRARY CONCERNS1.jpg

High turnover and personnel issues. Decreased services. Never finding the book you want.

Those are just some of the concerns people expressed about Lewiston's City Library at Monday's city council meeting, saying it may drive them elsewhere.

John Bradbury is a retired judge, a published author, and an avid reader. "I went down to get a book that they said they had, went to get it off the shelf and it wasn't there," he recounts. It's something many library users said they could relate to.

Ever since, Bradbury's also been a concerned patron digging into the Idaho Commission on Libraries stats on Lewiston's library. He found that even though the downtown library is four times bigger than the space that closed in 2012, there's less to browse and borrow.

"The old library, with a quarter of the floor space, had 66,000 books available to the patrons. I found out that they had reduced the books by over 18,000 books," he says.

That's not including over 11,000 books that are long overdue or missing, and another 8,000 or so that are in the basement. All told, Bradbury says, there are only 29,000 books on the shelves.

"That's 57% fewer books available for Lewiston library patrons," Bradbury says.

Where have all the books gone? Bradbury says many ended up in the blue bin.

"It's outrageous. What kind of respect does that show for books when you send books to recycling and you have 36,000 people that ask for books that they don't have?" he wonders.

That 36,000 is the number of inter-library loans made at Lewiston's library every year. Bradbury says with around 100 requests every day, it's only a matter of time before readers just go to another library.

Bradbury says, "Something has to be done, or we won't have a library."

He suggests letting the Idaho Commission on Libraries do a free assessment to provide their recommendations.

We repeatedly reached out to the library director, Alexa Eccles, for her comments on these citizen concerns; our calls were not returned.

We will be speaking with Library Board Chair Dr. Bill Cone and have more as the story develops.

Idaho Commission on Libraries most recent statistics: http://libraries.idaho.gov/files/Final%20Stats%2016.pdf





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