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story.lead_photo.caption A needs assessment is in the works for the Bentonville Public Library. The library is open with social distance guidelines in place. Go to nwaonline.com/200909Daily/ to see more photos. (NWA Democat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

BENTONVILLE -- The City Council on Tuesday approved a contract for a needs assessment for the public library.

MSR Design will do the assessment for $79,400. Additional services will be outsourced with other vendors and cost $33,500 for a total of $112,900 paid for by a Walton Family Foundation grant, according to council documents.

"To fully understand how BPL should continue to serve patrons and improve offerings for our rapidly growing community, a formal needs assessment conducted by a professional firm is necessary," said Hadi Dudley, library director.

The library at 405 S. Main St. is 38,000 square feet, Dudley said.

The 2018 Bentonville Community Plan suggests an assessment of the need to expand the library, according to a letter from Dudley to the City Council and Mayor Stephanie Orman.

An expansion should align with population growth, school enrollment and city development. The study will be library mission-focused and community-driven, Dudley wrote.

The anticipated timeline for beginning the assessment is September with a four to six months to complete the study. MSR Design also will gather public input through surveys, public workshops, meetings with library support groups and interviews with community leaders, according to the letter.

Dudley believes public input is important to the success of the study.

"In the coming months, residents will share their opinions about our library through surveys, public workshops and other feedback tools about how the BPL should expand in the future," she said.

Workshops and meetings will be held as covid-19 pandemic protocols allow, with online participation options. The assessment will conclude with a presentation to the City Council and a report offering recommendations for the library's expansion, Dudley said.

The council also approved a surplus request for 14 Glock .40 caliber handguns for the Police Department. The firearms have been in service for 10 years. New Generation 5 models with night sights can be bought from Galls in Springdale for about $409 each. The 14 surplus handguns can be traded in for about $225 credit each, according to council documents.

The council meeting started with an informal presentation of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission's 10-year transit development plan called Connect NWA.

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Debbie McDevitt with the Bentonville Public Library staff greets library patrons on Tuesday Sept. 8 2020 at the library entrance. Go to nwaonline.com/200909Daily/ to see more photos. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
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Debbie McDevitt with the Bentonville Public Library staff greets library patrons on Tuesday Sept. 8 2020 at the library entrance. Go to nwaonline.com/200909Daily/ to see more photos. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)
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Council action

Bentonville’s City Council met Tuesday and approved:

• Creating an applications administrator position and adding the position to the 2020 pay plan. The position will be paid for through 2023 from the reallocation of software project money.

• A budget adjustment for a radio system consultant. Tusa Consulting Services II was selected.

Source: Bentonville City Council

Mike Jones can be reached by email at [email protected]

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