Will West Richland Close Its Library? Citizens Fearful
The West Richland library's contract with the Mid Columbia Library System expires this year. The tax money funding it has been declining (despite the city's growth) and its costs have been rising. Some are suggesting the library should close.
A consultant hired to analyze the situation does not recommend closure, but instead says the city should fork over the extra money to stay in the Mid Columbia Library System, or ask to join Richland City Library.
Hiring a for-profit company to run the library would be more expensive, as would trying to run it without any outside help.
The problem arises from the fact that the building belongs to the city, but the books and media belong to Mid Columbia Libraries. The latter would really like full control of facility and completely adopt it as part of the system instead of it be a pay-to-play branch.
Right now the little building on Van Giesen in old West Richland is the 4th most-visited branch in the system!
Joining Richland City Library would mean losing access to the humongous collection owned by the Mid-Columbia Libraries. It would also mean losing funding from the county.
According to unofficial old-timers, the history of the library systems goes back to when the federal government ran Richland. It established the library for the benefit of Hanford workers. When Kennewick wanted a library, it had to start its own. It got funding from the county by agreeing to start a bookmobile program. That is why Mid-Columbia Libraries and Richland Library are separate and so different.