The Natrona County School District will join forces with a committee studying the future of the Natrona County Public Library.

"A membership from your board would greatly add to our discussion," committee member John Lawson told the district's board of trustees Monday.

The current six-member committee is looking for two district board members in an effort to look at what to do with the landlocked, well-used albeit crowded, and potentially unsafe public library.

The Natrona County Commission and the Casper City Council approved similar resolutions in April to form a working group. Its members are commissioner Lawson and Chairman Forrest Chadwick, and council members Mayor Charlie Powell, Vice Mayor Daniel Sandoval, Steve Cathey and Bob Hopkins.

Lawson repeated what he's said earlier this year that the library at 307 E. Second St., does a good job with what it has, but it doesn't have the space to meet the needs of a growing county with 81,000 residents. Seventy percent of the county's residents hold library cards, about 1,000 people a day use it, and 10,000 students use it annually.

However, the Casper Fire-EMS Department sent a letter to the library director in May 2014 saying the building needs immediate attention to fix severely deficient fire protection and ways to exit the building in an emergency.

Meanshile, the GSG Architecture firm also released a report, which Lawson distributed to school district trustees, that stated the remediation would cost $3.7 million and would take 16 months. The library's board voted in March 2015 not to proceed with the renovations because they wouldn't fix the problems of trying to grow in a landlocked building.

Those pressing needs, coupled with the history of twice-rejected public funding votes, will require suggestions about what to do, if anything, about the current building, what to design in a new building if that's an alternative, location, and a financial plan, he said.School district trustee Elizabeth Horsch, who served as acting chairwoman at Monday's meeting, said the district already passed a resolution voicing support for a group to look at the library's future.
The board will offer two trustees to the committee.
"The library is terribly important to us," Horsch said.
The committee will hold its next public meeting at the Natrona County School District's Central Services building, 970 N. Glenn Road, at 5:30 p.m. Monday.