Library trustees discuss building options

Lacking a forum, the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Board of Trustees took no official actions in a Thursday afternoon meeting but did discuss future options concerning the main branch, located in the city’s civic center.

In March, architect Fred Reed and designer and draftsman Leonard Zell of the Reed Architectural Firm in Pine Bluff briefed the board and Library Director Michael Sawyer on possibilities for renovating of the current facility, constructing a new building or relocating to another existing location.

Reed attended Thursday’s meeting at Sawyer’s invitation, saying he was present to respond to the board’s questions and not to suggest a final decision.

Several of the attending trustees seemed more interested in relocating the branch to another, existing building. However, conversation picked up again on the option of renovating and remaining in the current location.

Reed’s assessment on staying in the present facility, which dates back nearly 50 years, was presented during the March meeting. It included input from library staff members, who related their views on various library needs.

Reed also said then that a one-story main library could work well. The present branch is spread over three floors.

Among the aims of Reed’s projections were making the library more user-friendly to physically handicapped persons and enhancing its offerings to young adults and teenagers.

Reed said Thursday that should the board determine it wants to conduct a public vote on a bond issue to finance construction of a new facility, it should first seek to determine what might become of the present location. Reed said he believes most citizens would want the current facility to continue to be utilized.