|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
How does NCPL Compare to Other Wyoming Libraries?
By Brenda Thomson, Community Relations Coordinator
March 19, 2008
When you walk into the Natrona County Public Library, what is the first thing you see? Depending on which entrance you use, you may see our friendly circulation staff, people working at computers, or rows of neatly shelved books. What you shouldn’t see is clutter or needless crowding of space.
Some libraries choose to fill up their space as tightly as possible to convince patrons that a new library is needed. Your library staff and trustees have chosen a different route. We have kept our existing space as open and welcoming as possible, encouraging our patrons to fully utilize the resources available at their library.
However, because of this choice, it may not be as obvious how little space NCPL is operating in considering the number of people we serve.
One way to gain that perspective is to look at other institutions serving comparably-sized communities. NCPL staff compared square footage, community sizes, and parking spaces provided by similarly sized Wyoming libraries to see where NCPL stands.
You may be surprised to learn that Natrona County Public Library serves over twice the number of patrons in less space per capita than any other Wyoming library, illustrated in the chart below. You can also see that the number of parking spaces provided for our population size is substantially below other libraries.
The library next closest in size to NCPL is Sheridan County Public Library, serving a population of 27,673 in a 30,130 sf building. The difference in population served is 42,728. NCPL serves more than twice as many patrons in the same sized facility that Sheridan uses, and can offer only 12 additional parking spaces.
The Public Library in Laramie County, Wyoming’s largest population center, serves 85,384 patrons which is just 14,983 more citizens than Natrona County. The Laramie County Public Library, with a 103,000 sf building has a whopping 70,318 more square feet (more than twice the current NCPL building) to serve these extra 14,983 people!
Another way to look at it, Laramie County citizens have built and are using their library of the future, as Natrona County may soon have the opportunity to do.
NCPL’s current building, last substantially remodeled in the early 1970s when the county’s population was about 51,000, today serves over 70,400 residents. Our population is expected to continue growing at a rate of 1,000 people annually for the next two decades.
Your NCPL staff has worked hard to intentionally provide our community with a clean, uncluttered, and welcoming environment. While library staff strives to maintain this pleasant atmosphere, the library’s Board of Trustees is planning for our community’s future. A new library will help us to continue providing excellent library services to current and future generations.
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