Cynthia Claridge

Cynthia Claridge

Redmond voters have the opportunity this November to take a step forward for our community. We will consider a ballot measure which, if approved, will double the size of our Redmond library, giving us a modern facility designed to meet the needs of our growing population.

As a longtime Redmond resident, a library board member, and a retired teacher, I believe this measure is important for our community. It signals a commitment to building “community and connection” as our town grows and it honors lifelong learning for all residents.

Built in the same location as our existing library, the new building will be an integral part of Redmond’s downtown, just across from Centennial Park and the remodeled City Hall. It will be an anchor to our community and a symbol of civic pride – a sign that we care about the future of our town.

Our existing library was originally the Jessie Hill Elementary School, which was built in 1929. Remodeled into the present-day library in 1996 when our population was 11,000, we now need to expand since our present population has nearly tripled to 32,000. This nearly 100-year-old building has been stretched to meet the needs of our growing community and the technology needed for a modern library.

The passage of this bond will give the citizens of Redmond an opportunity to have a library reflective of the growing population and growing needs. It will provide the funding to fill the significant need for small group and large group meeting spaces, a Children’s Discovery area, more room for books, and updated technology for our residents. The design will reflect the changing ways in which libraries are now used. Books of course are an important focus for a library; however, nowadays modern libraries are also designed as community gathering places where we are free to safely share new ideas and knowledge with others

What does that look like? It could mean

• Preschool-age youngsters in hands-on experience play.

• School-age students in individual or small group tutoring sessions.

• Teens restaging the furniture for group sharing of new ideas and thoughts.

• Small businesses and nonprofits utilizing technology to access necessary resources.

• A patron in privacy participating in an online job interview.

In addition to the Redmond library project, the bond proposes building a new Central Library at the north end of Bend near Cascade Village Shopping Center, readily accessible to Redmond residents. This building will feature larger spaces to accommodate programs drawing a sizeable crowd as well as a larger book collection — one appropriate for the size of our county. A high-efficiency material-handling system will be installed that will speed the processing to quickly deliver books back into the hands of patrons throughout the county. The bond also includes funds for improvements at all of the other libraries in the county.

We’ve honed this proposal through a careful 6-year planning process, with input from more than 6,000 Deschutes County residents. The Deschutes Public Library District has not asked for any facilities money for 22 years. DPL has paid off all its previous debt and has used creativity, flexibility, and foresight to build one of the best library systems in Oregon. Each year, about 800,000 people pass through the doors of our libraries, checking out 2.5 million items. The library district has been good a steward of tax money in the past, and they promise to be so in the future.

I believe the value of these improvements will positively impact our community. Voters throughout the county will pay for this bond measure, at a rate of only 32 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation, but Redmond will gain a landmark library it can be proud of for decades to come. I hope you will join me in voting YES on this ballot measure.

Cynthia Claridge has lived in Redmond since 1979. She is retired elementary teacher and taught at Evergreen Elementary School in Redmond. She now serves on the Deschutes Public Library Board.

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