Moore Memorial Library in Texas City has some big changes in the works, both aesthetically and in regard to thousands of dollars its users owe in overdue fees.
Managers of the library, which Texas City commissioners heard an update about this week, will begin exploring renovation options to give patrons more space to work, Library Director Luke Alvey-Henderson said. An architect, Houston-based Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott Inc., already has signed onto the $1.2 million project, and the work is expected to be complete within a year, even though an official timeframe won’t be worked out until this week, Alvey-Henderson said.
To kick off the changes, the library plans to forgive more than $98,546 in overdue fees that its users have racked up over the past five or so years. A month-long, fine-forgiveness drive that begins today will help in the short term, but an overhaul of the library’s fee schedule aims to address the issue afterward.
“It’s a lot of money that’s owed, and it causes people who want to use the library to not be able to,” Alvey-Henderson said.
Between October 2017 and September 2018, 112,969 people used the library, according to data the library keeps. More than 38,000 people owe fees for overdue items.
Comparatively, only $8,741 in overdue fees are owed to the La Marque Public Library, according to library data. Nearly $1 million is owed to the Galveston Rosenberg Library, Library Director John Augelli said.
The renovation will create three new private study areas, new flooring throughout the facility, nearly $50,000 in new furniture purchases and new audiovisual equipment for meetings.
“We’re looking for ways to improve the entire library for its patrons,” Alvey-Henderson said. “There’s not always a lot of room to move around in there.”
The renovations won’t expand the actual library, only the interior, he said. But the work that’s being done, including the weeding out of 30,000 books by the end of the year, will give the library’s users a more comfortable experience, he said.
“We want people to notice the change when they come in here,” he said.
As for the overdue fees, the library will partner with Galveston County Food Bank to forgive up to $10 in fees for users who donate a non-perishable food item in November. Also, maximum fines for DVD checkouts will be reduced from $10 to $5.
“The current fee schedule is just too punitive,” Alvey-Henderon said.