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TRL Board selects kiosk over full library in Toledo

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The Timberland Regional Library (TRL) Board has determined a library kiosk will be the most appropriate way to service the Toledo community, though local residents still hold out hope for a fill library in the future.

It was determined in a vote by the board Feb. 26 that a kiosk would most appropriately serve the needs of Toledo at this time, given the limited financial resources of the TRL District (which serves Lewis, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Mason Counties) as well as the proximity of the TRL library in Winlock.

Such a determination had been made through a service point analysis begun last May, which took into account community involvement, availability of other library resources, local population, and other factors. The results of the analysis, which positively noted Toledo’s two-thirds support of annexation into the district during the last General Election, had been first presented during the board’s Jan. 22 meeting. At that time, the board had been given the option to approve a kiosk, but tabled the issue in the interest of further reviewing the data generated by the analysis.

A kiosk, which would feature books on reserve as well as a computer for access to TRL resources, could take multiple shapes at this point, according to TRL Communications Manager Jeff Kleingartner, who said the location and staffing of the kiosk will be determined through upcoming meetings with city officials and community leaders.

Kleingartner said one option available to a city with a TRL kiosk is to establish and staff their own library, using donations of books and other resources, with the kiosk inside the library, similar to the TRL kiosk in Rochester.

This may be possible in Toledo’s case, as a building has been made available downtown by Pat and Bill Caldwell, but Pat Caldwell said there are now several uncertainties surrounding the future of the building, primarily with regard to Timberland’s expectations for what a kiosk will be and do for the community.

“There’s just so many questions, is all,” she said in an interview Monday, adding it is still her desire and the desire of others to someday establish a full TRL library in Toledo. “We’re still interested in pursuing it.”

Caldwell continued by stating TRL had made clear from the beginning of Toledo’s efforts to join the district that a full library was never guaranteed but only one option out of several.

“They were always very upfront that this might be just a library card,” she said.

While the Caldwells had at one time offered the City of Toledo their building for use as a library, Mayor Jerry Pratt said Monday it would not presently be feasible for the city to accept the building as the required maintenance and upkeep would be too much of an expense for the city.

Pratt is expected to have addressed the issue of the TRL Board’s decision during the Toledo City Council meeting Monday night, and Kleingartner said a meeting with Pratt and TRL Director Cheryl Heywood is to be scheduled for later this week to discuss plans for the kiosk and Timberland’s future in Toledo.

For community members wishing to ask further questions or express their views, a meeting with TRL officials is expected to take place March 18 at 7 p.m. in Toledo Middle School during the Vision:Toledo BIG Community Meeting. For information on this and other Vision:Toledo events, go to www.visiontoledo.org. For information on TRL, including the results of the service point analysis, go to www.trl.org.

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