Q. Why are you choosing to open an independent library instead of continuing the service contract with the Idaho Falls Public Library (IFPL)?
A. For more than twenty years, the Bonneville County Library District (BCLD) has wanted more say in library services and access to closer branches. As the cost for using the IFPL has increased and the county has grown exponentially, it was clear that it is now affordable and wise to invest our money into smaller, more accessible local branches and to focus on purchasing books and materials with our own community patrons in mind. The county will continue to grow, and we are looking forward to the future so that we will be able to provide excellent library service as we become a larger entity than the city of Idaho Falls. Continuing a service contract will not accomplish these goals.
Q. How will Bonneville County Library services compare to those offered at the IFPL?
A. We want to offer more library branches that are closer to our residents, expand learning opportunities and programs offered, and increase services offered at the Iona and Swan Valley branches. Our collection will not be as large as that at IFPL, but we can still build an excellent collection as well as meet additional needs that our residents have.
Q. Will the Bonneville County Library offer electronic services?
A. Yes, we are offering electronic services, including Overdrive and Libby.
Q. What if I still want access to the IFPL?
A. Anyone may choose to purchase a non-resident card from IFPL if they desire.
Q. Did you negotiate in good faith to try and secure a service contract with IFPL?
A. Yes. Offers have gone back and forth between the IFPL and the BCLD. We presented one last final offer and the IFPL board voted unanimously to reject it.
Q. Did you make this decision hastily?
A. No. Our board members have been diligent throughout the last year researching possible solutions and the feasibility of creating this independent library. We spoke with library directors in our area, received direction from the Idaho Commission for Libraries, compared budgets of libraries with similar revenue, and looked at many library models. We feel confident that this is a move in the right direction.
Q. What are your specific reasons for not continuing the service contract with the IFPL?
A. Although we have greatly appreciated the service the IFPL has provided to us over the years, we feel the need to run an independent library system now because of:
- Cost: They are asking for nearly double the amount we paid last year, which we believe is far more than what is reasonably related to the cost of services. (You can go to the following site to see what their actual expenditures, income, and reserves are: https://libraries.idaho.gov).
- Representation: We currently have no representation with the Idaho Falls library in how the money is spent. Their board, along with their director, makes those decisions. By creating our own district library, we will have members of the board who reside in the county, who will assess the needs of the residents and make decisions that will fit those needs and wants.
- Assets: By creating our own library, we will be acquiring assets that the county will be able to keep. Currently, with the Idaho Falls library, we give money to help build their library, purchase physical as well as digital material, pay for the remodeling of their building, etc. but at the end of the day, we don’t keep any of those assets.
- County Population: The county is growing so fast that in just a few years the number of residents will exceed the number of residents in Idaho Falls. With this in mind, we do not want to have a smaller entity ruling the larger district.
- Proximity: We would like to bring the libraries closer to where the county residents reside: Ammon, Iona, Swan Valley, the west side of the city, and Ucon. Statistics show that people are more likely to visit and use libraries that are closer to them. This also will provide a place that is closer for neighbors and communities to gather and meet.
If you have further questions, please email us at email@example.com.