North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club
March 6, 2023
            March 13: Noon luncheon at the Bark.  Speaker:TBA
Book a visit to the new Central Library
            In a word, the newly refurbished downtown library is “Wow.”
            Now renamed as the “Central Library,” the traditional “quiet please” environs of an old-style library still requests appropriate hushed conversations, but also is a bee hive of activity.
            On the March 6 field trip to Central Library, club members toured three floors of rentable meeting groups, usable computers and ports for lap-tops, activities for kids of all ages, a multi-media suite of studios and a stage with 300 seats and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Spokane Falls, City Hall and Kendall Yards.
            Funded by a $77 million bond four years ago, the $33 million Central Library opened four months ago.
            The first library on the site opened in 1963 after a Sears, Roebuck and Co. building was “repurposed” for larger space.
            That Comstock Building was demolished for the downtown library at 906 W. Main in 1994.  In 2018, voters by a wide margin approved the new 21st century library.
            Our guides for the first-class library were Paul Chapin, manager of operations and public service, and Mark Pond, business research librarian.
            In one of the well-designed business conference rooms, Mark talked about his role to help would-be start-up entrepreneurs.  The first-floor center replaced previous business conference space on the 3rd floor.
            With connections to Bloomberg services – only libraries in Boston and New York offer that, he said -- Mark said, “This is one of the best business libraries anywhere.”  With an annual budget of $80,000, “we’re killing it (for resources),” he said.
            With special permission, the Business Lab is equipped with printers, scanners, desk space and a call booth.
            Mark, a Kettle Falls native and UW grad, has been with the library system since 2006.
            Paul Chapin told the club members that library cards are free and access is open to city and county residents.
            Students from all area colleges and universities are welcomed,
            On the on the busiest days some 3,000 people are counted.
            Paul, a Whitman grad, said the Central Library also is designated as a shelter for things like severe air pollution.  As many as 1,500 can be allowed there, he said.
            Crackers or other light snacks are available, but there is no food service on-site or catered.  A New Leaf Café offers coffee and other drinks, provided by “women with barriers to traditional employment.”
            Sleeping in the library is discouraged, but an array of chairs and benches provide comfortable surroundings.
            A large second-floor space accommodates tots and kids, especially popular for Saturday children’s gatherings.  A Thursday night event is a Saturday Night Live-style of programming.
            The non-commercial, listener –supported KYRS radio station operates on 88.1/92.3-FM.
            As Paul summed it up: “We are doing amazing things.”
            Neighborhood libraries also shine
            While the wow-factor is highest at the Central Library, Spokane’s other libraries also shared marked improvements.
            They include Liberty Park, 402 S. Pittsburg; Shadle Park, 2111 W. Wellesley. The Hive (arts education), 2904 E. Sprague and Hillyard, 4110 N. Cook.
            Finishing touches are being completed at Soth Hill and Indian Trail libraries. 
 Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
 Pictures:  Lenore Romney