Sumner has its sights set on a new location for its library.
The City Council moved to purchase a 1.7-acre parcel of land located at 15208, 15126 and 15216 East Main St. across from Fred Meyer at a meeting on May 7.
“It is an amazing location for a library for four reasons — it’s in the middle of the city, it’s near other gathering spaces, residences are nearby and it's a walkable community,” said Clifford Jo, Pierce County Library System (PCLS) Finance and Business Director.
The current Sumner Pierce County Library is located at 1116 Fryar Ave.
“While the current location worked well in earlier years, it is a challenge to access at the far west side of the city, and the facility’s design is inadequate for providing needed services,” Jo said.
The library was originally built in Sumner’s Ryan House in the 1920s. It moved to a larger facility off Fryar Avenue in the 1970s and joined with the Pierce County Library System in the early 1980s.
“Times have changed,” city administrator John Galle said. “Friar Avenue, instead of being a small rural road, now carries trucks and transportation for 12-13,000 workers up in the north end.”
“The porous brick building with a flat roof is not the best or most ideal building for the northwest as we have found, and at 10,000 square feet, it’s undersized for the changing needs of the community and the library,” Galle added.
As libraries go, Sumner’s is a busy one, PCLS communications director Mary Getchell said. At the end of 2017, there were 14,075 people with library cards that were affiliated with the Sumner library. Patrons checked out nearly 260,000 items in 2017 alone, with 136,000 visits.
The location for a new Sumner library has been in the PCLS Facilities Master Plan since it was created in 2010.
“We’re definitely interested in a space that has much more access to accommodate the people in the community,” Getchell said.
There is currently no concrete design for the library, but PCLS has several ideas, including the addition of a second meeting room and designated children and teens sections.
The library could be up to 20,000 square feet, doubling its current size, and will most likely be one story.
The city and PCLS are now discussing details for a formal agreement and funding opportunities.