Guest Opinion: Nampa's new library will serve as community's living room


May 30, 2014 

A downtown Nampa business owner says her 3-year-old grandson often points out "my new library."

He's absolutely right.

As long as he lives here, the library now under construction will be the community living room for him, his family, and all of Nampa's residents.

We're the library board of trustees, volunteers appointed by the mayor. By giving our time and money, we feel like that boy does: It is "our library," and we invite all of you to "Make It Yours."

Though the building is funded, we've always known that a capital campaign would purchase furnishings, public art and technology.

Regarding controversy about the funding mechanism for construction, Mayor Robert Henry said: "That cannot be changed. It is behind us. Within 10 years, our children and grandchildren may not remember what funding mechanism built our library - but they will be very glad that it was built."

Regarding the traffic plan, city leaders and engineers promise change if necessary.

Answering key questions puts this project into perspective.

Does Nampa need a new library?

Daily, an average of 1,000 people use Nampa's current library. The building is crowded, without adequate seating. Patrons have been patient through floods, bees, being stuck in the elevator, limited parking and noise. We've remediated safety issues when possible, but it's discouraging to send good money after bad. Also, the new library will be much cheaper and smaller than the $30 million, 80,000-square-foot building proposed in 2006. It is definitely needed.

What's Nampa's track record on giving?

For years, Nampa businesses and citizens have left legacies we enjoy - at Nampa's Ridgecrest and Centennial Golf Courses, Civic Center, Recreation Center and Idaho Center. The late John Brandt, who financed the Civic Center auditorium and Northwest Nazarene University convocation center, is an example of a local philanthropic giant.

There are many ways to give. Gifts over $5,000 honor businesses, families and individuals with naming opportunities such as rooms and art. In the "Make It Yours" campaign, $100, $250 or $500 secures a wood grain book spine with a family's engraved name on display. For only $10, enjoy a delicious meal at Texas Roadhouse 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. this coming Monday.

What's our vision for Nampa's future?

Imagine our library after it opens, offering learning, literacy and links to all of Nampa. Children will play in a large, colorful space on the first floor; teenagers will gather on the second floor and adults and seniors will attend activities on all floors. The third floor will feature a Spanish language section and a terrace overlooking Nampa.

Our library will be a great equalizer. People of all economic backgrounds will use its programs and media, including new technologies.

Library Square will be the hub of a busy downtown, where people will park and walk to local businesses.

We're excited for Nampa's children who will love their library. We ask Nampa citizens, "What legacy will you leave? How will you make this new community living room yours?" To give, visit

Sandi Levi, board chair, is writing on behalf of the Nampa Library board. Contributing board members: Rosie Reilly, Barry Myers, Phil Bence and Debra Holm.

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