Libraries, Library, Uncategorized

Downtown James River Valley Library


The JRVLS Board has approved options to purchase two properties adjacent to the Alfred Dickey Library. The two properties, directly north of AD will allow for the construction of a new two level 16,000 sf state of the art addition to the 11,200 sf Alfred Dickey facility. AD will be renovated to take advantage or today’s electronic innovations while preserving the beauty and heritage of the 1919 design. Bringing the classic and the contemporary together allows the board to honor the past and recognize a constantly changing learning environment.

The new facility will bring the Stutsman County Library, the bookmobile and the Alfred Dickey Library under one roof. The estimated cost of the new facility is $9,000,000. Net cost after donations is conservatively estimated at $7,750,000. An initiative for a ¼% sales tax will be on the November 4th, 2014 ballot for city and county approval.  The ¼% sales tax will cost the average Stutsman County family $33.75 a year according to the state tax office.

The option agreements, included in the $9,000,000, are for the property owned by Satrom Rentals, immediately adjacent to AD, and the Maple Mall owned by Helen Ashwell.  The Satrom property purchase price is $375,000. The Ashwell purchase price is $399,000. The option is good untill Feb. 15, 2014.

Volunteers will soon start collecting signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. 1,452 signatures from qualified voters in Stutsman County (15% of the voters in the 2013 general election) are required to get the initiative on the ballot. If you would like to help collect signatures, contact Bill Kennedy at 701 252-2217 or by email,


Bookmobiles, Libraries, Library

FAQ’s or What Do We Want To Know About A New Library?

These are the questions that arise most often about the need for a new library, and the answers to those questions.

If your question is not on the list, please send it to us as a comment. 

Q. How much will the new library cost?

A. The new library is currently projected to cost $8,250,000. We have raised $1,025,000 in donations. More donations through foundation grants and personal gifts are expected following the November 4th election. It will cost the average Stutsman County family$33.75 a year in sales tax to pay for the new library.  Property owners in Stutsman County now pay 3.5% of their property tax for the library. This will not change.

Q. How big will the new library be?

A. The new library will be 28,000 sq. ft. The current Alfred Dickey and Stutsman County buildings are a combined 14,000 sq. ft. The State Library’s standard for populations over 25,000 requires a minimum of 25,000 sq. ft. for new construction. Jamestown and Stutsman County are projected to reach that population figure by 2025.

Q. Why do we even need a library? Doesn’t everyone have a tablet, a pad or a smartphone that gives them access to whatever they want or need?

A. The Pew Institute conducts extensive surveys on our use of the internet. In a recent survey of young adults, 18-29, 35% do not own a smartphone, 66% do not own a tablet, 72% do not own an e-reader. 76% of these young adults say that it is “Very Important” for libraries to offer free access to computers and the internet.

The role of the library is changing. It is a place where people go to learn. It is a place where people who do not have access to the latest electronic devices go to do research on jobs, health, education. It is a place where people go to share ideas and learn.

The advent of e-publication has opened another avenue for reading and learning. However, not everyone has access to or can afford a laptop, tablet or smart-phone. A book feels better to many people than an electronic device. The key is to have a balance of traditional materials with e-materials and be able to adapt quickly.

Q. Why not remodel the current building, buy the building next door, and expand?

A.  JRVL’s architect Joel Davy says, “The Current Alfred Dickey Library has inadequate space, even with the building next door, for the 28,000 sq. ft. that are needed to fulfill the role of the library today.  Even if there were space, three problems remain unsolved.

1. Garage for the bookmobile

2. Parking for patrons

3. The library would be closed for a year during construction.”

Q. What will happen to the 1919 Alfred Dickey building?

A. The library board is committed to finding an appropriate use for the building in the tradition of re-use for the old Trinity Hospital, Post Office, and Jamestown Hospital.

Q. Do people actually use the library? What will happen when the new library opens?

A. In 2013, 90,000 patron visits were made to the two facilities. Circulation was 180,000.

The 2017 forecast is for145,000 visits. Total circulation will be 250,000.

Q. How important is a new library to Jamestown and Stutsman County?

A.  A modern, efficient, flexible, library, is as important to the community as a modern, efficient, flexible, sewer system. Studies show that when a new library is opened, entire neighborhoods are revitalized. The new library would be a catalyst to keep current businesses alive and draw new businesses to downtown.

Q. Why now?

A. Alfred Dickey Free Library was opened in 1919 with 7,000 books for a population of 6,627 in a 13,000 sq. ft. building. The Stutsman County Library moved into its current 7.000 sq. ft. in 1973 with an inventory of 25,000 books. In 2008 voters said to combine the two libraries into one system

Today, the two libraries house 70,000 books for 20,934 people. They are one system, but under two roofs. The buildings, especially Alfred Dickey (AD) are overcrowded and inefficient offering no flexibility for staff or collections. AD cannot be retrofitted to meet the challenges that libraries face today. The library of tomorrow must offer the appropriate space for traditional collections and the flexibility to react to changes in the e-universe.

Q. Why are more public spaces necessary?

A. There is growing demand for community gathering places where ideas can be shared between individuals and within small groups. Some are quiet spaces, others are appropriate for group discussion. Patrons use the library to pay bills, write resumes, get health care information, read, and meet with other people to share ideas. The key is flexibility to meet the needs of the community.

These spaces are free and do not compete with commercial enterprises. They give every resident a chance to meet, share, and learn.

Q. Do we still need a Bookmobile?

A. Yes. The Bookmobile is more important than ever. It is an essential part of the library service to the community. On the 9 days a month that the bookmobile travels to 23 county and city locations, it accounts for almost 40% of the total circulation.  The bookmobile is an efficient, flexible branch of the library that caters to individual requests and needs.