“A library is not is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life.” Henry Ward Beecher

The unhampered and unbiased sharing of information, and the freedom to retrieve that information, is one of the fundamentals of American ideology. In a
world where there are bans on education by gender or caste, or internet censorship for fear of societal unrest fanned by knowledge, libraries represent
free speech, free thinking and community, from all walks of life. In our digital age, where search engines return over a million sources to answer
a single question, degrading in quality or relevance as you click forward through the results, one can approach a librarian and just get one good one
back.

In Everett’s small corner of the globe, there is an exciting prospect being considered for our library system. The Evergreen Branch of the Everett Public
Library may be up for well-deserved upgrades and renovations. According to the press release from the city of Everett, earlier in the month of July,
Mayor Ray Stephanson announced that he will ask the City Council to approve funding to expand the branch and goes on to say, “The south Everett branch
opened 27 years ago, when we had a population of less than 70,000. Now we have 85,000 people living south of 41st Street alone, and we are long overdue
for a larger space to serve our community, especially the many families that visit the Evergreen branch on a daily basis.”

The hope is that the funding will be applied to potentially “add 5,000 square feet to the south branch, including new study and quiet rooms, a large meeting
space, additional public restrooms and computers and a larger children’s area. The project will also add 36 additional parking spaces by demolishing
a City-owned duplex on the site and relocating information technology services to the expanded facility.” The duplex itself, per library director Eileen
Simmons, currently houses equipment for the City’s Information Technology Department which “serves as a hub for providing service to the branch and
the south fire and police stations”. The hope is to house the IT within the expanded building, if all goes well.

Although the main branch on Hoyt is just shy of 6.5 times larger than the south branch in 2015, 9,745 children attended programs at the Evergreen branch,
compared to 7,446 at the main library, according to the release.

As of July 25th, there are still two more readings of the ordinance to fund the design phase of the project, which the City Council will vote on August
3rd.

For more information or to view the original release, go to: file:///C:/Users/bells/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/IE/X3WPLL8Y/071416_South%20library%20branch%20expansion.pdf or https://www.epls.org/