By Rusty Bradshaw
Sun City county library patrons will be able to return their books without getting out of their car when Recreation Centers of Sun City officials complete the project.
RCSC officials sent the project out for bid earlier this month and expect to get them back in March. A specific bid and project could be selected by the first week in April, according to Marcia Davis, Friends of the Sun City Libraries board president. She and Sue Wilson, RCSC board member and Friends board liaison, met with Chris Herring, RCSC assistant general manager, to discuss the details and a timeline for the project.
“We pushed for a timeline because we need to have the funds ready when they need them,” Ms. Davis said.
The Friends will fund the project, which will see a drop box placed in the middle of the access road immediately adjacent to Bell Recreation Center, 16820 N. 99th Ave. The friends are funding the project in support of the Maricopa County Library District facility at Bell center. The MCLD leases the space at Bell, and a second location at Fairway Recreation Center, 10600 W. Peoria Ave., from RCSC.
Ms. Davis said a tentative construction schedule would have work start in June or July, with final completion possibly in August at the latest.“Chris said the June and July time frame is when they do maintenance work at Bell, so that seemed to be the best time to do the book drop with other projects,” Ms. Davis explained.
Mr. Herring told Ms. Davis and Ms. Wilson the project will possibly include widening the access road leading up to and after, and at the spot where the drop box would be installed, to avoid eliminating the landscaping next to the building. He also said a Friends suggestion to reinstall a gate on the wall at the northwest corner of the building to allow easier access by library workers and volunteers to retrieve the books dropped in the return box.
“We were told to have the money ready by April,” Ms. Davis said.
The drive-through book drop was first proposed in 2017. While RCSC officials looked favorably on the project, it was given a lower priority in the projects list as the corporation had a number of other more pressing needs through the past year, including prep work for its Grand Avenue property, 10415 W. Grand Ave., and preparing for the rebuild of the South Golf Course, 11000 N. 103rd Ave., pro and snack shops.
Getting the book drop on the project schedule was good news to library officials.
“This will really be a help to our patrons,” said Brianna King, Sun City library manager.
It will add to a number of amenities patrons have requested through years, including electronic charging stations and baby changing stations in the restrooms.
“The changing stations are now installed, and we had one at Fairway used already,” Ms. King said. “People are also excited about the charging stations.”
The Friends of the Library funded both the changing and charging stations.
The Books Around the Corner, the Friends used bookstore housing in the same Bell building as the library, also benefited with an upgrade of the office computer. The machine is used for inventory and other tasks.
“This has helped out a great deal,” said Sue Painter, bookstore volunteer.
The bookstore helps fund the Friends, which in turn assists financially and otherwise the library staffs. The Friends are also funded by donations and bequests.
Books Around the Corner turned in a record sales month in January. There was $5,324.96 in sales for the month, which was up from $3,800 from the same month in 2018, according to Mary Anne McDonald, bookstore manager.
“We had very good results from the book sale in January, I thought we might run out of forms,” she said.
While she did not have exact dates yet, the next Books Around the Corner sale will be around Mother’s Day in May.