Why do we need a bigger library? Because the current library was built over 25 years ago to serve 14,800 residents, and the population is expected to be over 25,000 in the 2020 census. We consider ourselves fortunate to be in an area that is vibrant and growing. New, larger libraries have been trending and local communities similar to ours have built new, modern libraries over the last ten years: Pittsford, Irondequoit, Henrietta, Chili, and Mendon. Library expansions have been seen at Wood Library in Canandaigua, Fairport, Livonia, Caledonia, and Greece.
What’s wrong with the current building? Our architects tell us it is impossible to add a second floor because the foundation could not support it. Additionally, expanding on the current site would create insufficient parking. A larger library would require around 100 parking spaces and there are only around 50 spaces right now.
Why don’t you build a branch in Farmington? The cost of constructing a separate building, along with doubling operational and material costs is much more expensive than operating just one building.
How busy is the library that we need a bigger one? Of the 42 libraries in the Pioneer Library System, the Victor Farmington Library ranks either first or second in circulations and door counts. In 2019, over 191,000 items were borrowed and nearly 121,000 people physically visited the library. A typical weekday saw 400 – 500 people come through the doors. Additionally, the small meeting rooms and tables seated over 4,000 individuals for non-library functions. The library is a very active, vibrant destination that is used for more than just borrowing books.
Who uses a library anymore since we have the internet and ebooks? Libraries are now much more than just book repositories. They are the cultural and social centers of their communities. Local organizations and individuals use libraries for meetings, tutors teach their students, children and teens come to actively learn, and adults are offered a wide variety of educational, in-person instruction. The library has free wi-fi and public computers that people use for job searches and finding employment, among other uses.
Where would a new library go? The library board of directors has researched over twelve locations in the Village of Victor since 2017, working closely with an architectural firm (for space recommendations), a real estate expert, a fundraising consultant, and the Village of Victor government. The Victor Farmington Library is proposing the construction of a new library at 160 School Street, in the Village of Victor.
What will happen to the tenants at 160 School Street? It’s important to everyone that these businesses stay in Victor. The Victor Local Development Corporation will provide relocation assistance.
Why am I just hearing about a new library now? Exploration of a new library began in 2017. A study of the library’s space needs was completed in 2018, and in 2019 740 individuals responded to a community-wide survey asking people if the community needed a bigger library. 82% said yes. It takes a long time to research and gather the appropriate information before it can be presented to the public.
Did you consider renovating the existing building at 160 School Street? Yes. Our architects found fire and water damage. They determined that demolishing the building would be the most cost-effective option.
Did you look at vacant buildings in the area? We investigated both existing buildings and land available for sale. This is the first location that met all of the criteria at a reasonable cost.
How much will it cost? The proposed library carries an estimated cost of $16.6 million and a projected tax rate of $.82 per 1,000 of assessed value. The current rate is $.27 per $1,000 valuation.
Minimizing the impact on taxpayers remains the first priority of the board of trustees.
How much do I pay in taxes for the current library? If you’re a resident of the Victor Central School District, you are paying $27 dollars for a $100,000 home in 2022.
How big is the new library going to be? An extensive space study completed by a professional recommends a new library should be more than twice the current size to adequately serve the public.
Will there be meetings and open houses regarding the new library? Yes, there will be multiple opportunities to attend informational sessions, and of course, the director is always available at the library.
Why build a new library now? The library’s Board of Trustees recognized the need for a larger library four years ago. A positive 2022 vote will allow the library to lock in a site big enough to accommodate our current and future needs and remain in the Village of Victor. The soonest construction could begin on a bigger building is in early 2023. If the vote is unsuccessful, the library will not purchase property, instead of remaining in the current building.
What happens if the vote is unsuccessful? Due to the time and money already invested in considering a larger library, a no vote would mean staying in the current building for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the space constraints that keep us from offering more of what the community has asked for, are likely to worsen as the populations of Victor and Farmington continue to grow.
What services does the Victor Farmington Library currently offer? In addition to loaning books, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and video games, the library provides:
-Programming for all ages including arts and crafts, book clubs, classes to help you stay fit, educational workshops, and storytimes
-Space for community meetings and tutoring
-Five public computers that can be used to apply for work, prepare your resume, join a webinar, do research, or take an online class
-Printing, copying, and faxing services
-Downloadable eBooks and audiobooks
-Online access to ancestry.com
-Materials for teachers and homeschoolers
-Newspapers, magazines, and local history materials
-Passes to local museums and state parks
-Concerts and other performances
Why didn’t I get to provide input on the project sooner? It is customary for a project like this to be initiated by a Board of Trustees or Directors. In this case, the board heard concerns from the staff and the director beginning as early as 2017 indicating that the library facilities were insufficient for our current patrons’ needs. The board, understanding the current demand plus predicted population growth, began a utilization study in 2018. Following that study, they secured professional advice from an architectural firm. They then went out to the public with a widely-distributed survey and in-person interviews to further customize the project. It was only after all this research that the board was able to come up with a new location, a solid building plan, and a dollar figure.
I heard there’s a coffee shop going in the new library. Why would that be considered? Based on surveys and in-person interviews, a coffee shop was the number one requested feature for a new library. It was tied with “more books.” Coffee and books complement one another. The coffee shop would potentially be run by North Star Coffee, a division of the Ontario County ARC that employs people with special needs and supports other local businesses by purchasing local products. NorthStar Coffee will pay rent to the library, buy their own equipment and supplies, and be open only when the library is open.
This project costs $16 million. How can taxpayers justify that cost? When a large sum of money is distributed over the entire population, it becomes much more reasonable. Homeowners and local businesses without a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) would pay an additional $55 for every $100k of assessed value PER YEAR for the new library. Additionally, the library continues to seek pledges, donations, and grants to help offset the costs of construction.
I moved here from a more populated town because of the lower taxes. I don’t want our community to become the next Pittsford and pay higher taxes? Taxes in our community will continue to be lower, in comparison, to many of the surrounding communities in the immediate future. Taxes are an unpopular fact of life but no one wants to envision a future where taxes are so low we don’t have the valuable services that we have come to expect.
Where will the existing businesses in the proposed location go? Twin Elder Brewery has already moved to the location where Gourmet Goodies was (Gourmet Goodies is reopening in the Walmart plaza). Pizza D’s has an agreement with the current owner of the property, UMAC has a proposed new location in the village, and the furniture store is operated by the property owner’s wife. All businesses have been accounted for.
Could a smaller library plan be proposed next year? Can’t you just eliminate some features to reduce the cost? The proposed new library was developed with community and professional input and is appropriately sized not only for today’s needs but for future community growth. Scaling back the current proposed size is unlikely to substantially reduce construction costs and will force the library to spend more resources to look for additional space in only a few years. Additionally, if the vote does not pass, the library’s contract to work with the current seller of the new location expires, as would the offer to purchase the library building by a buyer willing to wait for construction to be done, and the entire process would have to begin again. It’s taken five years to get to the point we’re at today.
How will the proposed new library appear on the ballot? Under the “VICTOR FARMINGTON LIBRARY FUNDING PROPOSITION”, you’ll see the following:
How do I get an absentee ballot? You can contact the Victor Central School District at 585-924-3252, x1402 to request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots are only given to registered voters who meet one of the following criteria:
-A patient in a hospital, or unable to appear personally at the polling place because of illness or physical disability or duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled.
-Outside of my county of residence because of my duties, occupation, or business.
-On vacation outside of my county of residence.
-Inmate or patient of a veteran’s administration hospital.
-Detained in jail awaiting action by a grand jury or awaiting trial.
-Confined to jail or prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.
Where can I find usage and statistics on the library? Statistics can be found on our website at https://victorfarmingtonlibrary.org/annual-report/ in the form of yearly reports to the public.
If the costs of the new library exceed the current projections, will there be another tax increase? No, the current estimate factors in inflation and increased construction costs for 2023 and 2024. This August, the library will receive a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) from the construction manager. If the GMP is more than expected, the library board is committed to making the difficult decisions about what features to cut. In this way, taxpayers can be confident the proposed increase is the total increase to build a larger, modern library.
Who is funding the Vote Yes for the New Library campaign? The Vote Yes campaign is organized and run by a group of volunteers committed to the proposed new library. This committee is funded through donations, and cannot legally be funded by the library board of trustees.
Where can I find more information about the proposed library? https://victorfarmingtonlibrary.org/new/