November 29, 2013


The City of Carroll's library consultant is seeking public input for a space-needs study central in developing a plan for a new or improved public library.

As part of the study, the consultant - Wisconsin-based Himmel & Wilson - is conducting a series of focus groups to determine public attitudes regarding library improvement. A total of nine focus group sessions composed of 12 to 15 people each will be held at City Hall on Dec. 9, 10 and 11.

"Our goal is that most of the sessions will be affinity groups in which participants share some common characteristic," said Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers. "For example, one session will be held with parents of young children, another with members of the business community and another with senior citizens."

Register online at or by calling the consultants at (608) 868-1133.

"We know that this is a very busy time of year," Schweers said. "However, this is a very important issue for the City of Carroll, and we need quality public input to arrive at a decision regarding the future of the public library. We value your opinion and hope that you will consider helping the community by contributing 90 minutes of your time to share your thoughts and ideas."

At a recent council meeting, Bill Wilson, a partner in Himmel & Wilson, said his firm likely will recommend at least doubling the size of the current facility.

Such a building would fall about in the middle range of total building square feet in comparison to other cities of similar population in Iowa.

Wilson, whose final report to the city is expected in February, said his early reviews of existing uses and future projections lead him toward a recommendation of a library between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet. The current library is 10,400 square feet.

Wilson's plans take into account informed speculation about likely library use for the next 20 years - with the expectation that a new or improved library will serve the city without major modifications for at least 40 years.

Based on 10,000 population, and using comparisons with other Iowa cities, a 24,200-square-foot library would fall at the 75th percentile. Using a population of 12,200 (which takes into account some area towns and unincorporated area) a goal of hitting the 75th percentile would be a 30,000-square-foot library, according to Wilson's analysis.

Himmel & Wilson, in existence since 1987, has been involved with more than 350 library developments in 43 states.

In coming weeks, 2,000 City of Carroll residents will receive a mailed survey with questions about library service.