The new Winthrop Library - Your questions…answered!
FAQ 071019 - subject to change
Why does Winthrop need a new library? Why now?
As current library users well know, at just 1141 square feet, our library lacks space for programs,
collections, technology access and workspace is extremely limited. Despite its size, our little
library has the busiest per capita use of the 30 libraries in the NCRL (North Central Regional
Library) system. It supports 30 book clubs, many children’s programs and bustles with activity.
The current location was intended to be temporary ten years ago. Why now? Our existing
population often overwhelms the current space and our expected growth will outpace the library’s
ability to serve. Now is the time to shape and strengthen our future with a vibrant community hub
that will benefit everyone for decades to come.
How do you know what the community needs in a new library?
Over the last 18 months FOWL listened to the community and completed an assessment that
guides the vision for developing a new library. We conducted surveys, community meetings,
focus groups and expert interviews to develop the assessment. The community wants:
• Light-filled, inspired space to gather and to learn
• Public meeting rooms
• Acoustically insulated, playful children’s area
• A place for teens to hang out
• Space and tools to make cool stuff
• Lots of computers, access to wi-fi and technology that helps access training and education
• Connection to the outdoors for learning and play
• More books! And comfy places to read them. Plus, more movies, audio books and periodicals,
Do people really still use libraries?
Yes! Books still form the spine and the soul of the library, but the modern library is a public hub
where people of all ages gather, learn, meet, look for jobs, go to events, work, and find and share
opportunity. And—libraries are FREE to all!
How much will the new library cost?
The cost will depend on the library’s final size and features, but we expect all costs are not to
exceed $4.5 million. The Washington State Legislature has allocated nearly $2 million towards
capital costs, so we are off to a great start!
Who is going to pay for it?
FOWL will raise funds for the building, with the help of the entire community—we need
your support! After the library is built, NCRL will be responsible for its operations, staff,
collections, programs and furnishings. The Town of Winthrop will own the building and
share responsibility including grounds and exterior maintenance.
How big will the new library be? How is the size determined?
The final size will be determined by the budget and funding, and weighs the operational support
commitment from NCRL and the Town of Winthrop. It’s a complex process, but in the end,
FOWL plans to meet the needs of our growing community into the future with an appropriately
sized library. Currently, we are planning for a 7,300-square foot building. This size is warranted
based on demand, current population, expected growth rates, standards for library design and the
community’s desire for features such as meeting space, a teen area and more. We also must look
to the future, so we are directing the design team to create a building that can accommodate
Where will the new library be located?
The library will be on White Avenue, across from Town Trailhead on the .81-acre site purchased
by the Town of Winthrop in January 2018. This central location was chosen because it is visible,
easily accessible by public and school transit or car, and is within walking distance from the town
center. The library will primarily serve the upper Methow Valley from Winthrop to Lost River
but it will of course be available to the entire valley. Like now, the new library will be the only
free, public indoor space where people can gather in the town of Winthrop—for meetings,
programs or just to enjoy all the library will offer.
What about the Twisp Library?
The Twisp library will be positively affected! Twisp is one of NCRL’s independent branches, and
NCRL is committed to its continued support. In fact, Twisp is entitled to the same level of
support as the new Winthrop library. Twisp Librarian Dawn Woodruff is excited for Winthrop to
develop the facility the upper valley needs—which will no doubt benefit the entire valley.
When will the new library open?
We intend to break ground in 2020 and open the new library in 2022.
Who is designing the new library?
The team of Johnston Architects and Prentiss Balance Wickline (PBW) is designing the library.
Johnston Architects has designed 30 libraries, and has extensive experience in the valley, as does
Will my taxes go up to pay for the new library?
No! No new taxes will be needed to build or maintain the library. Your property taxes already
include a library assessment (levied at $.36/$1000 in taxable value), which goes to the NCRL
system. This tax revenue pays for librarians, books, programming and more.