City Government

GUARDIAN Library Plan Still Valid After 11 Years

We cannot stress it strongly enough. The citizens of in Idaho are empowered by the State Constitution to control the purse strings of public debt.

Boise City and Team Dave have once again launched a public relations blitz to create support for a $70 million edifice to replace the main Library on Capitol Blvd. near the river. The question before Boiseans is quite simply: “DO YOU WANT A BEAUTIFUL BUILDING OR GOOD LIBRARY SERVICE?”

Nearly a dozen years ago the GUARDIAN offered up a common sense plan to provide first class library service to ALL of Ada County and share the costs. We once again offer up our sound advice which includes a vote of the people for a consolidated Library to serve Boise, Meridian, Garden City, Eagle, Star, Kuna. There is an existing “consortium” of libraries which does a good job sharing assets and talent.


Before Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and his Team Dave go too far politicizing libraries, he better talk to the hardworking folks who make it all work.

The GUARDIAN has been working below the radar to come up with a plan for a county-wide system of libraries in Boise and we can assure you it involves ALL citizens who understand and value the services and rewards of a good library system.

People in Boise, Meridian, Garden City, Eagle, Star, and Kuna are all residents of Ada County. We should have just one library and Boise should NOT be the 900 pound gorilla.

Insiders at all levels–BPL staffers, Ada Community Library, and several 35 year library veterans–tell us the best thing we can do is have a COUNTY-WIDE LIBRARY. One former staffer tells us the State Library favors county libraries and they work toward such systems.

Guess what? TODAY, through a “consortium” of libraries that runs from Caldwell to Twin Falls and even to Hailey, you can use a Nampa library card to borrow a book in Boise and return it to Hailey when you are finished. Or any combination of transactions at those libraries.

If we consolidated just the Ada libraries we could have a greatly simplified system and EVERYONE would share in both the costs and the benefits.

As it is now, Boise residents are getting hit unfairly in the pocketbook and Team Dave wants to build more libraries–he just doesn’t know how to fund them. The library law provides for consolidation with–A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE! We need to get this rolling before Boise gets a debt load or committed to one program without exploring consolidation.

Because Boise annexes beyong its ability to provide services, they PAY other libraries toprovide services to Boise residents. HOWEVER, users (insiders call them “patrons”) from those districts can use their cards in Boise for free.

Without getting into a debate about what libraries should offer, we feel computer access is absolutely essential. The days of card files and 10-year-old encyclopedias are gone. Today’s libraries offer traditional printed books alongside videos and access to just about any information on earth through the internet.

While Team Dave was busy offering up an ill fated and outdated $38 million library bond, the worker bees in the library business continue their efforts at making services available to library types everywhere.

We already share the books, how about sharing the control, funding, and costs countywide and we would all pay just once?

Since the original post, Team Dave wisely opted for neighborhood libraries. Two are new stand alone buildings and two are store front remodels in shopping centers. Good effort, good results, and it was all done out of pocket change in the city budget with no bond debt or solicitation for donations.

The current $70 million plan has plenty of hoopla, a “world class architect,” the usual drawings and color photos in the Daily Paper, but no word on where the money will come from to pay for the dream.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Problem Solved
    Feb 14, 2018, 12:15 pm

    Amazontization (yes, that’s a new word I invented today) is forcing changes to the retail world. It’s opening up space in and around the mall. Perfect infrastructure. Accessible to all to include public transportation and free parking.

    $70 Million, my God! It’s as if it is not his money. Can buy 3/5 of an F-35 for that amount.

    EDITOR NOTE–You bring up a good point about alternatives. IF they build the downtown stadium, the Hawks ball park will be open, also with plenty of parking. Boise could put the GUARDIAN consolidated library at that location and stop paying Garden City nearly $50,000 a year for library services as they do now.

  2. A consolidated library system is on no one’s radar. Ada County barely pays attention to its system. Through cooperative agreements, there is a consolidated system. Each municipality takes pride in its own library(s). It is the one point where there is little dissent. So, Boise should go forward and build a new library. A great city needs a great library. I support a bond to tax my property to build a library to be proud. The grander the better.

    EDITOR NOTE–TF Boy, glad to hear you are on board for a constitutionally mandated bond for long term debt. We both agree on this one. My guess however is that Team Dave will do everything possible to keep people from voting–like he and others did with the GBAD addition via CCDC.

  3. There is great need for consolidated libraries – but no longer expensive physical buildings because everything is online. Why drive to a building when a book can be downloaded to a phone, tablet, or computer? For those without, the library system can rent small unused buildings or rooms and provide free wifi.

  4. western guy
    Feb 14, 2018, 8:57 pm

    Storefront libraries!!! What a concept!!!

  5. Anyone who thinks Boise under Bieter knows anything about Beauty needs to look at the very ugly and very expensive newly “remodeled” area outside City Hall.

  6. Problem Solved
    Feb 15, 2018, 10:19 am

    Did JUMP have some difficulty from the Boise politics? I can’t recall specifics, but it seems there was some hangup because the family wanted to fund and control their own project. What were the details of that. How does that stack up against some of these other projects as far as who controls and who finances.

    EDITOR NOTE–Jump is a private venture of the J.R. Simplot non-profit foundation. No tax dollars or subsidies involved as far as we know. GUARDIAN has long advocated citizen approval of all debt of more than a single year’s revenue as mandated in the Idaho Constitution–WE GET TO VOTE!

  7. Transportation is extremely difficult in Idaho. Not everyone has access to a car nor the expense for a bus/car ride there. Not everyone has access to e-readers. Putting one giant building in the middle of a county will do nothing for the people who need it most. Access to public reading/learning/internet needs to be easy and affordable which is why we have so many small libraries in Boise.

  8. sharon Email fisher
    Feb 15, 2018, 12:58 pm

    Not all Ada County libraries are members of the consortium. It is very expensive.

    EDITOR NOTE–I believe Kuna is the exception. As I understand it, the coverage is Caldwell to Twin Falls and includes Hailey.

  9. western guy
    Feb 15, 2018, 3:33 pm

    RE: Katie Fite’s comment regarding City Hall makeover:

    One reason was ‘water leaking through steps into basement’. Boise airport redid the huge compass logo because of ‘moisture underneath the tiles’.

    there’s always enough $$ to do public works projects right, the second time, but not enough to do it right the first time.

  10. Editor, I bet you coffee and a scone that the library will be placed before the voters. There is no revenue stream to pay CCDC back for any loan.

    EDITOR NOTE–Bet accepted! I don’t really have a strong opinion, but if you want library you could have seven $10,000,000 libraries for the same price as the book palace! Think about it.

  11. Don’t want to fund it with debt?
    Easy enough,,, a little shell game and before you know it the city has their money from other funds and with deferred maintenance.
    The Bown Crossing library was created without a bond. No problemo.

    Statesman: “The project budget [Bown] is $8.6 million, with $7.6 million coming from the city’s capital contingency fund and $1 million provided by Friends of the Boise Public Library and the Library Foundation, Winslow said.”

    City statement: “In FY 2017, Library will open the new Library! at Bown Crossing. Library has seen an increase of $800,000 in its FY 2017 operating budget in preparation for the opening of the Library! at Bown Crossing.”:

    We see it with the fire stations too. Don’t budget the maintenance, and then it is easy to cry deteriorated property and a new building is an easier sell.
    No bond, or easy bond. It’s all a shell game when you’re a bureaucrat playing with millions of tax dollars.

    The City basically has free money to spend. Our money. Weird that the council is also spending ‘their’ money. Maybe they just have so much of it, (Ludwig) they don’t mind.

    When the economy is good, sales tax revenues RAIN upon the cities. When the economy is good, user fees are easy to charge for all these street closures and public ‘events’. When times are good, it is easy to set the wish-list budget first and then the assessor automatically increases the levy rate on property taxes to match the budgets. Wha-la. Free money!

    A new Library! or MRAPS or fancy fire trucks? It’s all the same.
    Easy taxpayer money.

    If you pay it, they will spend it.
    No refunds necessary….

  12. Michael Miller
    Feb 18, 2018, 4:24 pm

    It’s time to look for a new Mayor.

    EDITOR NOTE–Don’t think you are going to find one in Boise. We have noticed Elaine Clegg becoming “more public” recently. We predict the next mayor will be a woman and she will not be much different than Dave Bieter. Bieter, in our opinion, is the most adept politician in Idaho.

  13. western guy
    Feb 18, 2018, 8:10 pm

    the Boise City Council and City Hall dwellers is the petri dish for local politicians. This is where they are created and nurtured.

    Notice one of the latest candidates for Ada County Commission: straight outta Capitol Blvd. Frank Walker didn’t make the cut with the voters, so The Machine is annointing another acolyte.

    EDITOR NOTE–The puppet master is creating a new puppet?

  14. I ended up on Holli Woodings’s mailing list. After the election I got a “thank you” email. I responded to her that what Boise needs is less “vision” and more “conservative management.” I think I was right.

  15. sharon fisher
    Feb 22, 2018, 11:33 am

    I believe Star is also not in the consortium.

  16. You need to pay more attention to the lack of retail in downtown Boise and the growth of annoying bike lanes and weird new recycling rules. The library is thing downtown and brings many down here, Your focus is off base.

  17. Mbjure71160
    Apr 5, 2018, 6:34 pm

    County library systems are not allowed under Idaho statute. Only districts and municipalities which would increase raxes%, Lobby the legislature for a change,

    EDITOR NOTE–It shouldn’t be too difficult to have a county wide DISTRICT. We have that now with EMS

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