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Library

Sanger Public Library -- Planning for the Future

A look at the 2017 Needs Assessment and Community Survey.

Concept Elevation by Komatsu Architecture from 2017 Feasibility Study and Needs Assessment

* This conceptual rendering is only intended to convey a possible style and form and is not a final design.

From February through October 2017, Sanger Public Library worked closely with Komatsu Architecture on a Feasibility Study and Needs Assessment to address the current library facility and future needs.  While a library building project is likely 3-5 years in the future, this architect's assessment is an important first step in determining considerations for the future of Sanger Public Library.

 

To supplement and provide information for Komatsu Architecture's Feasibility Study, Sanger Public Library performed a community survey during the summer of 2017 to gauge interest in a new library building and gain important feedback on both current library services and potential library services in the future.  The results of the Community Survey and Feasibility Study were presented to the City Council on October 16th, 2017.

 

Explore the tabs below to find out more information about the Community Survey, Feasibility Study and Needs Assessment, and future plans for Sanger Public Library.


Current Facility

  • The current Sanger Public Library building opened in 1995 and is just over 5,000 square feet in total size, including the meeting room, restrooms, foyer, staff work areas, and storage closets.  

 

  • Per statistics from the Texas State Library, Sanger Public Library is only half the average size of libraries in towns of similar population.

 

  • Our current size limitation means that as Sanger continues to grow, we are unable to continue growing our collection, services, and program offerings to meet the needs of the growing community.

 

  • We have seen a tremendous increase in new library cards.  This summer (2017) from May through July, we created 60% more new cards than we did over the same time period in 2016.  In fact, we issued more than 100 new cards in the month of June 2017 alone!

 

  • Along with an increase in new cards, we have seen continual increases in program attendance.  Over the summer we had record program and event attendance: up 12% over 2016.  Several events were near or over 100 people in attendance.  With our current facilities, it is difficult to accommodate current attendance levels (our meeting room is under 500 square feet), and we are limited by our space in growing our programming along with the community.

 

  • Some common things we hear because of our small size:
    • "I never knew this was a library building" - Current exterior design and small size don't attract attention or make it easy to identify the library.

    • "Wow, there's more here than I thought there'd be!" -- Our small size can give the impression that we don't have a good library, or wouldn't have the size or variety in our collection that we really do.

Limited Space: a summer event far too large to be done in the meeting room

Children's area is small and open to the rest of the library, creating noise for other library patrons and not allowing for a proper children's environment.

Full shelves, such as this one, are a symptom of space limitations... issues like this are time consuming for staff.  Our recent rearranging project required over 20 hours of preparation, plus a day of library closure.

Community Survey & Public Informational Meeting

Karl Komatsu and Amy Sibley of Komatsu Architecture presented a public information session on June 20th (pictured to the right) to engage the community and library patrons on the future of the library.  They began by showing their recent library projects in Fort Worth and Brenham as a way to start the discussion on library features and the Sanger community.  Sanger Public Library staff also shared photos of libraries we've visited or used to show different ways that libraries reflect and engage their local communities.

 

Sanger Public Library developed and conducted an in-depth community survey from June 28th, 2017 until August 11th, 2017.  We received 120 responses: Half of the surveys were completed or turned in at the library and the other half were done online through our Website, Facebook page, or emails from the library and Friends of the Library.

 

Five key questions from the Survey are summarized below. A larger excerpt of our survey results is available to download at the bottom of this page.

Komatsu Architecture and Sanger Public Library staff share photos of libraries from around the country to show different ways that libraries reflect their local community.

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"Which of the following library services have you used before?"

 

Most patrons have used the library to check out books, audiobooks, and CD's (91%) or attend library programs (67%).  About 62% indicated that they have used the library to check out DVDs.  Almost half have used the North Texas Library Consortium or Inter-Library Loan to get materials that we do not have in our collection.

 

Other library services that see large scale use include library computers (42.5%) and printing/copying (40%).  Those with children under 18 indicate a higher level of use for library computers: 50% of those with children under 18 have used computers.

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"How often do you come into Sanger Public Library?"

 

Nearly two-thirds of respondents visit the library on at least a monthly basis.  About 25% indicated that they come in weekly.  The survey found that having a hectic schedule was the most common reason for someone to come into the library rarely or intermittently.  Some indicated that they did not come into the library often because they found it too noisy or loud.  There were also several respondents who stated they use another library that is more convenient for them, such as their school/college library or another public library near their work.

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"Do you support building a new library?"

 

Respondents were asked to rate their level of support for a new library after reading a statement that included the following information:

  • Sanger Public Library is only half the size of an average library in towns of similar population
  • We have no more room to grow our collection and programs along with the growing community
  • An expansion would not create enough additional space for current or future needs and would delay the long-term solution of a new library building
  • Expansions/Renovations can cost as much or more than new construction
  • The City of Sanger is working on plans for a new library in 4-5 years

 

Based on those criteria, 60.34% of respondents indicated "I support building a new library," while an additional 18.10% said they were not sure it was needed but are "open to the idea and want to know more."  21.55% indicated "I don't support building a new library."

 

Those under the age of 40 were heavily in favor of a new library building in the survey: 76.5% indicated they are in favor while another 17.5% said they're not sure but wanted to know more.  Only 6% of those under 40 said they did not support a new library building.

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Preference on Library Location?

 

Survey respondents were asked to rank their preference for the location of a future Sanger Public Library.  The options were:

  • East of downtown towards Sanger High School and newer residential areas
  • A downtown location
  • West of downtown, towards Chisholm Trail Elementary School

 

The information presented in this question included:

  • a site has not yet been selected for a new library
  • there are many considerations that must be made concerning the future location of the library

 

The overall preference of survey respondents was that a future Sanger Public Library remain at its present site or at least in a downtown location.  The overall second choice of respondents was for east of downtown, near the high school.

 

This preference for a downtown location is very strong with survey respondents over the age of 40: more than 80% prefer a downtown location.  However, survey respondents under 40 are far less committed to the downtown location.  This demographic cast more first place votes for areas to the east and west near the elementary or high schools.  This is an important consideration due to the influx of young families into the area.  The majority of Sanger Public Library cardholders are under the age of 40 and the median age of the Sanger population is now 30.

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"What features would you like to see in a future Sanger Public Library?"

The two highest voted options were "More room for Books/Audio/Video" and a "Dedicated Children's Area."  Respondents were also very supportive of additional seating areas and study rooms that would be available to individuals or small groups.

 

The full list of options and their voting is listed below - there were 109 responses to this question:

  • 69.72% - More room for books/audio/video
  • 62.39% - Dedicated children's area
  • 53.21% - A multipurpose room
  • 48.62% - Easily reserveable community space 
  • 44.95% - Quiet space for reading/study
  • 42.20% - More comfortable seating
  • 41.28% - More computers for public use
  • 38.53% - Dedicated teen area
  • 37.61% - Space available after hours
  • 36.70% - Small study rooms (for 2-3 people)
  • 35.78% - Cafe or Coffee Shop
  • 34.86% - Multiple large meeting rooms
  • 34.86% - More study seating (tables/chairs)
  • 33.94% - Areas to use your computer
  • 33.94% - MakerSpace 
  • 32.11% - Local History/Genealogy area
  • 26.61% - Outdoor play space for children
  • 25.69% - Outdoor reading areas
  • 23.85% - Space for cooking demonstrations
  • 22.02% - Medium study rooms (up to 6 people)
  • 21.10% - community gardening space
  • 20.18% - ESL and language learning programs
  • 15.60% - More Magazines and Newspapers
  • 10.09% - Expanded Spanish/Bilingual collection
  • 8.26% -  Other
Feasibility Study and Needs Assessment 

Komatsu Architecture presented the results of their Feasibility Study and Needs Assessment to the City Council on October 16th, 2017.  An excerpt of their work is available for download at the bottom of this page.  Their research -- supplemented by survey data, community engagement, and conversations with library staff -- outlines the future needs of Sanger Public Library and the rapidly growing population of Sanger:

 

  • "Sanger is a growing community whose current population is approximately 8,100 and is expected to expand to 15,000 by 2030.  In planning for the Library, care has been taken to anticipate future needs and current trends seen in new library facilities and to meet the needs of the growing Sanger community...The existing library facility, which is only about 5,000 square feet, is not expected to be able to accommodate the growing community population or the modern user."

 

  • The Texas State Library (TLA) created a Space Needs Worksheet with methods recognized by the State of Texas to calculate how much space a library needs based on local population.  Komatsu Architecture notes that the TLA worksheet confirms a future Sanger Public Library needs a "minimum of 15,000 square [feet]...to provide a full service for the Sanger anticipated population."

 

A future library building, as conceptualized in the Feasibility Study, would be a 20,000 square foot facility with the ability to expand up to 25,000 square feet in the future.   Komatsu does note that "the land parcel size would need to be approximately 3 acres" regardless of whether a new library facility is new construction or an expansion/renovation of the existing building.

Such a facility would provide benefits found in many newer libraries and desired by current library users, such as: 

 

  • More room for the library's book, audio, & movie collections
  • Study rooms for quiet and collaborative use
  • Comfortable reading areas
  • Larger, more flexible Children's areas
  • Definitive and innovative Teen/Young Adult areas
  • Space to accommodate multiple programs and hands on learning for all library patrons
  • Emphasis on flexible, functional, and technology friendly spaces
  • Abundant electrical outlets
  • Use of natural light and sustainable practices
  • Incorporation of art and creative elements
  • Open plan with good acoustics and lower shelf heights
  • Well designed exterior and interior spaces that support a sense of community
  • Self-checkout and the possibility of drive-through pick up for holds

About Komatsu Architecture

Komatsu Architecture was founded in Fort Worth, TX in 1959  by Albert S. Komatsu; they are a second generation family owned design organization.  Komatsu Architecture has designed, built, and renovated numerous libraries in Texas, including many in the Dallas-Ft Worth area.  Metroplex cities that have Komatsu Architecture designed libraries include Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Flower Mound, and Highland Park.  Learn more about Komatsu Architecture.

Future Feasibility of a Downtown Location

While the overall preference seen in the Community Survey was for the library to remain at its current site or in a downtown location, demonstrated need for a significantly larger library facility to accommodate current and long term community growth poses many challenges to keeping the library in a downtown location, namely the availability of a suitable 3 acre site.

 

A scale comparison of the existing 14,000 Sq. Ft. library site (right)

to Komatsu Architecture's conceptualization of a new library on a 3 acre site (left)

 

 

Komatsu Architecture specifically addressed the current site in their study and whether it is feasible to build a new library or expand at the current location.  They conclude that consideration of the following factors "may make expansion of the current site cost prohibitive." 

 

For either new construction or an expansion at the present site:

  • "3 acres would be required.  The existing library site is approximately 14,000 square feet.  An acre is 43,560 square feet; therefore an additional 116,680 square feet [2.7 acres] of adjacent property would need to be acquired"
  • "may incur added expense and possible demolition of existing structures"
  • "could lead to the city having to exercise eminent domain"
  • "would incur expense of moving/relocating existing alley utilities"
  • "Would need to consider the additional expense of building a new city hall since the expansion would probably require the current city hall site"

 

Other issues with keeping the library at its present location include:

  • "phased construction, which would result in a longer construction period"
  • "inconvenience to the staff and patrons"
  • "periods of library closure may be required throughout phased construction"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are excerpts of both the Community Survey and Feasibility Study available for download.  Complete documents are available upon request from the library.

Sanger, Texas City Hall
502 Elm St, Sanger, TX 76266
Phone: 940-458-7930

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