Anchor Point Library Needs Room to Grow

     Anchor Point’s library board has been in the process of securing a new building to house the library’s 22,000-volume collection of books and media. There have been local fundraising efforts and talks to capture state dollars.

     On a rainy Thursday morning, Library Director Lora Craig and her husband Bob were there working on a few things. That’s a day the library is typically closed. Bob, who is president of the Anchor Point Library Board was trying to fix the library’s computer-based catalogue system.

     “The problem was we had a power outage the other day and so the IP address changed on the main computer. None of the other computers could find this computer address to bring up the programs. Now they’re all talking to that computer,” he said.

     It seemed like the cozy library is a labor of love. It’s housed in one section of the VFW Hall on Milo Fritz Avenue in town, which Lora said helps when it comes to bills.

     “The VFW does not charge us rent. They supply the place and the pay the heat and the lights,” she said.

     But the lease has been up for at least a couple years and Bob said the VFW would like to expand. They aren’t about to kick the library out, though. Plus, Bob said he understands the need for more space. The library could use a little as well. Really, they’re looking to double its size. 

     There’s just enough room to move around in there and the main seating area is a few tables put together in the middle of the floor next to the stacks. The tables also are covered in books and DVDs.

     “This is the extent of our space for sitting. We have a little computer thing there. A few more computers would be nice, but we don’t have any room for them,” he said.

     He said the library has video-conferencing capabilities, too, but no room to use the equipment. Bob and Lora said they’re hoping for a new building that’s similar to the Ninilchik library. 

     “They were able to build that pretty reasonably, even using some local labor. And that’s kind of what we had in mind,” he said.

     The library board already has a spot picked out and Bob’s in the process of tearing down an old house that’s currently in that location. The new library will be on the same street. 

     There’s already been a feasibility study put together for a new library by the Foraker Group, which helps Alaska non-profits. Bob said that’s what the state will use to decide whether or not to throw funds the library’s way. 

     “Because that tells them… is this a viable project? Can it sustain itself? How much money have they raised? And how much support do they have? The other thing that they go off of is the State Library Association has a matrix where people who are trying to build libraries put in their information and how much they think their library’s going to cost. We were number one on that list this last year,” he said.

     But the legislature didn’t fund any libraries this year. So the library board will give it another try during the upcoming session that starts in January. Bob said the feasibility study also included a design for the new building. The anticipated cost to build a new library is about $2.1 million. 

     Bob said the library board will be requesting about $1 million from the state. So far the board has raised about $55,000 toward the project. It always looks a little better if you have money from the community already set aside. Bob said the possibility of a new library is still a year or more out, but he’s hopeful.

     “Everybody’s always for something new. Even in Anchor Point,” he said.