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Challenges Facing the Library in the Upcoming Year

Posted August 29, 2012 in Community Blogs, Waukee


The Waukee Public Library first opened its doors in 1929. In 1990, library supporters raised $70,000 and helped pass a $30,000 bond issue to purchase the old Christian Church. This moved the library from a tiny corner in City Hall to a 4,000 square foot facility. May 2001 saw Waukee citizens overwhelmingly approve a $2M bond issue for the construction of the current library building, opened in April 2003.

The library is a 14,415 square foot facility located in the geographic center of the city. There are no branches. The 2003 library gained an addition in 2009, housing the Hal Manders Collection.

In future years, the library will need to address the issues of an under-sized meeting room, insufficient parking, and insufficient public service space. The last space needs study was completed in 1998 and needs updating soon. A space needs assessment in 1996 recommended a 23,349 square-foot facility.


The Waukee Public Library is committed to serving the needs of all citizens. In order to do this effectively, the library strives to provide a balanced collection that includes books, periodicals, non-print materials, and access to the Internet and electronic content. As of July, 2012, the collection contains 47,077 items. Reflecting the demographics of the service area, approximately 51% of the collection is intended for use by children and teens. The library has responded to public demand by developing collections of non-print materials.

However, the number of volumes in the library’s collection ranks in the state’s lower quartile for its service population size. Currently, the library’s holdings-per-capita is 34% below the state average and 29% below the national average.

Part of that is a function of the library’s materials budget: over the past six years the library’s annual materials budget has been just above or at the basic funding level. Another factor making it increasingly difficult to improve these rankings is the lack of shelf-space for new material due to an outgrown building.


The Waukee Public Library falls below the basic level of staffing when compared to state mean for service populations. Over the past five years, the library’s relatively flat staffing level has not kept up with the population growth in the service area. Waukee ranks as one of the fastest growing cities in the state. The city has addressed this need recently with the approved hiring of a half-time clerk, and the increase in hours of one employee from 32 hours-per-week to 40.  Still, the library anticipates a need of four FTEs in the next two years to match the current population in the service area.

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