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Weber County commissioner: Libraries ‘don’t need to be Taj Mahals’

Supporters balk at scaling back bond approved by voters to create community gathering spaces.

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"You can scale things back to a warehouse," Perry said, "and it’s foolishness to provide facilities that are not adequate for some distance into the future."

Spencer Stokes shares Perry’s love for libraries.

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The prominent Republican co-chaired the library’s bond committee along with Marlin Jensen, a Democrat and retired Mormon church historian.

Both were present Tuesday when commissioners approved the first contract for design of the new Southwest branch in Roy.

"I know there are those out there who want to cut the size of the bond," Stokes said. "I wanted it bigger — to add a Plain City branch, because I think accessibility is that important."

Stokes also subscribes to the view of libraries as third places.

"I’m a big fan of barbershops because of the exchange of information and ideas that occur there," Stokes said. "That’s what I love about libraries — there are hundreds of meetings that occur every month at our libraries."

Stokes lamented the diminishing third place across America: "This is one of the last bastions left."

Evelyn Bertilson, who has chaired the Friends of the Library fundraising board for more than a decade, said she hopes the library’s vision remains intact as the plan proceeds.

"Our credibility is on the line with the voters that supported us," Bertilson said, "and we want to deliver what was promised."

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