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Port Orchard's Current Library is a Well-Used Community Hub

Libraries offer more than access to books and information. They are central hubs that contribute to the vitality of communities. The Port Orchard Library, with one of the highest circulation rates within Kitsap Regional Library, serves nearly 6,000 visitors each month and registers the most new users in the region, issuing hundreds of new library cards monthly. 

 

STEM enrichment, story time, afterschool programming, and tax help are some of the many reasons people visit the Port Orchard Library. Library staff use the library’s single meeting room to host a full calendar of programming that engages all ages, from parents and babies to seniors. In addition, community groups of all kinds—from an Alzheimer’s support group to distance learning program groups to quilting circles—rely on the library’s meeting space.

Port Orchard Library is an Innovative Leader

The Port Orchard Library serves as an incubator for the region, piloting several community programs that are now offered at library branches throughout Kitsap. 

 

Each year, every 3rd grader in the local school district visits the library to sign up for a library card. This successful program started in Port Orchard but is now offered county-wide. 

 

The Port Orchard Library is currently working on implementing a new partner program
with the school district where school ID cards will function as library cards beginning this fall.

"There is lots of love for the Port Orchard Library, and that's only going to increase when we move to a brand new facility. When we built libraries in Kingston and Silverdale, we saw how the new facilities draw new people in, and we saw a huge demand for the new meeting spaces. The new libraries transformed these communities. That's the dream and hope for this project as well."

- Shannon Peterson 

Deputy Library Director, Public Services

Kitsap Regional Library

It's Time! A New Library for a Thriving Port Orchard

The Kitsap Regional Library Foundation is evaluating a capital campaign to fund a modern library in Port Orchard. The library will be part of the new Port Orchard Community Event Center, contributing to the revitalization of downtown and enhancing community vitality in South Kitsap and Greater Kitsap. 

 

The campaign’s $2 million goal aims to create a beautiful and welcoming space that improves residents’ lives and inspires community pride.

Campaign Feasibility Study 

Spring 2023

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Challenges with Port Orchard's Current Library

Originally retrofitted from an old post office building, Port Orchard’s current library is outdated, and the building has structural challenges and limitations.

  • For the past several years, the facility has experienced consistent problems with leaks and resulting water damage.

  • The library lacks adequate spaces for reading and for parent-child interaction. The adult and children's areas are far apart, with poor sightlines for parents to monitor their kids during visits.

  • While the library offers one of the only free meeting spaces in the South Kitsap region, the demand for this space is much more than the library can meet.

  • Despite its waterfront location, the library lacks windows that would showcase its setting, and which obscure its interior activities.

Imagine Port Orchard: The New Library at the Center

The proposed new library is a critical part of a larger master plan to reimagine and revitalize downtown Port Orchard, making it a destination that attracts residents from across South Kitsap, builds community, and fuels economic development.

The larger master plan includes:

  • A new event center, where the new library will be the anchor tenant.

  • A waterfront pathway and community plaza will surround the building, connecting it to the beauty of the region.

  • Improvements to the streets, shoreline restoration, and reclaiming public access to Port Orchard's beach and water.
     

When the City applied for funding from the Kitsap Public Facilities District for the event center, the citizens rallied behind it. The grant was awarded, and the funds have been used to acquire the land and design the space.

"This project is a game changer for Port Orchard. Imagine this waterfront community, with views of the Olympics and the Inlet... just imagine what this library could be with access to all this natural beauty. The new space will be a point of pride for the community and a thriving place where residents can meet, learn, and grow together."

- Jason Driver 

Library Director, Kitsap Regional Library

Campaign Updates

Stay up-to-date on our Silverdale Campaign progress and learn more about ways to help us reach our goal.

Philanthropy Makes the Difference

The $2 million campaign will leverage nearly $2 million in private philanthropy, with remaining costs covered through Library funding.

 

Private philanthropy not only helps leverage public funding, but it also ensures the new library is fully equipped and ready to meet the needs of residents. Community support over the past decade has enabled Kitsap Regional Library to create exceptional new facilities and offer innovative programming beyond what tax-funding alone could accomplish.

Timeline for the New Library

Proposed Timing

2023-2024

Item One

Campaign Planning and Private Funding

2024-2026

Item Two

State Grant

2026-2030

Item Three

Construction*

2028-2030

Item Three

Doors open to communities*

*Project timelines are preliminary; final timelines to be determined by project partners.

Vision for the New Library: Inspiring Individuals and Community

The new Port Orchard Library will improve the visitor experience and draw in and inspire South Kitsap residents.

An Open-Concept Design Built for the 21st Century Library User

  • With scenic views of Sinclair Inlet and windows on both sides of the building, passersby can catch a glimpse of the library's activities, fueling curiosity and attracting new visitors.

  • The modern facility’s clear sightlines will allow parents and children to enjoy the library together.

  • Alongside more spaces for reading, the new library will also offer “phone booths” for Zoom calls and interviews, serving job seekers, entrepreneurs, and other collaborators.

  • The library will include access to updated technology, i.e., laptops.

Go-To Gathering Space for South Kitsap

  • The library's outdoor spaces will be utilized for imaginative programming that incorporates the natural environment and surroundings.

  • Expanded meeting spaces will serve the diverse needs of the region.

  • Rolling shelving that can be added or removed will enable flexibility for gatherings of all sizes and allow the library to adapt to future needs.

  • The new library, located just two blocks from the current facility, will continue to be accessible by both bus and ferry.

Engaging the Region's Youth and Families

  • Building on the popular youth space in the current library, the new library will add access to the outdoors, along with more space for young children, teens, and a new area for tweens.

  • It will also include spaces designed for parent and child interaction, an essential part of healthy child development.

Thriving Communities Need Libraries

Libraries are essential "third places" that foster community and social connections.

  • They provide a neutral central gathering place that brings people from diverse backgrounds together to connect and exchange ideas.​

  • As public spaces open and welcoming to all, they serve to provide shelter and respite during extreme weather and offer a safe place for children and teens to go after school.

  • And, they connect us to the rest of the world by providing access to technology, books, media, and programming - leading to knowledge discovery and expanded horizons.

Funding the New Library

The total cost of the master plan for downtown Port Orchard, including site development, shoreline restoration, street improvements, and the new event center, is $28 million.

 

The City has asked Kitsap Regional Library to fund $4.8 million for the planning and construction of the new library. Additionally, the budget includes $640,000 for furnishing, fixtures, equipment, and campaign expenses.

 

Private philanthropy not only helps leverage public funding, but it also ensures the new library is fully equipped and ready to meet the needs of residents. Community support over the past decade has enabled Kitsap Regional Library to create exceptional new facilities and offer innovative programming beyond what tax-funding alone could accomplish.

We are grateful for your feedback. For more information, please contact:

Wendy Kile, Executive Director

Kitsap Regional Library Foundation

wkile@KRL.org

360-471-2044

Anticipated Project Revenue

$1,940,000

Item One

State Capital Grant

$1,500,000

Item Two

Library Budgeted Capital

$2,000,000

Item Three

Private Philanthropy Raised by the Foundation

$5,440,000

Item Three

Total

Anticipated Capital & Campaign Costs

$4,800,000

Item One

Planning & Construction

$500,000

Item Two

Furnishing, Fixtures, Equipment

$140,000

Item Three

Campaign Expenses

$5,440,000

Item Three

Total

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