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Growing Bingham County population driving need for new library

Growing population driving need for new library

SHELLEY, Idaho - At the North Bingham County District Library, they like to think there's a book for everyone. But lately, that hasn't always been possible.

"At our last story time we had 75 people show up," said Heidi Riddoch, director of the library. "There isn't really room for 75 people in our room, but we did accommodate them."

And it's not just at story time. Every day, library officials say they have to deal with the problem of overcrowding driven by Bingham County's growing population.

"People have been moving in. They're bringing in families. These families need to be able to come to the library," Riddoch said.

In just 10 years, Bingham County gained about 4,000 people, while Shelley's population is up by 13 percent.

"It (the library) really isn't big enough for our population. We are crowded and we're limited in what programs we can have."

So library officials are asking voters to say 'yes' to a $5 million bond that will allow them to build a bigger library in a brand-new location.

"This particular location has no room for us to expand. We've got our parking lot, and that's it. We don't own any of the land surrounding us," Riddoch said.

Even if the bond is passed, it could take up to two years before a new library opens. But Riddoch says it's worth the wait and the cost.

"A library is based on the principle of pay it forward. We provide things for the whole community, and the community gathers at a library. And we serve everybody from birth to death."

You don't have to actually live in Shelley to vote on this bond. Anyone can vote so long as they live within the Firth and Shelley School District.

Voting takes place Tuesday, so be sure to mark your calendars.

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