RF Library budgets for digital signLibrary Director Nancy Miller confirms that the board and foundation of the River Falls Public Library voted recently to spend up to $15,000 each on the purchase of an electronic sign board to replace the manual one now used.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Library Director Nancy Miller confirms that the board and foundation of the River Falls Public Library voted recently to spend up to $15,000 each on the purchase of an electronic sign board to replace the manual one now used.
The sign would display not only library announcements about programs, events, closings or special hours, it could also carry community information.
For example, Miller says the sign could display messages about the Glen Park pool opening and times for siren testing.
Asked when passersby might expect to see the sign on the library’s front lawn, she said, “We would like it to happen now,” then added that though fall would be great, it will more likely be spring.
Miller said a review of the library’s exterior sign is part of the city’s 2011-2013 work plan, but she said she’s been asking about one for years -- since about 2007 as far as she can remember.
“It’s really hard to maintain that board outside,” said Miller.
She explained that the library is on its third outdoor sign. Weather and other wear and tear render them unusable. Miller speculates that the worst part of maintaining the outdoor sign is going out in the elements to change or fix it.
The stick-in lettering blows off in the strong Wisconsin wind -- people often picked letters up from the parking lot, lawn or street and returned them to the desk. The letters would become brittle then crack -- often the library staff had to craft hand-made letters when they “ran out” of a certain one.
An electronic sign, though subject to many code regulations, would enable the library to change the sign conveniently with a laptop. Neither the sign nor the staffers will be subjected to or affected by the elements anymore.
Miller mentions that part of the reason the sign won’t appear quickly is because the library must take great care in selecting the exact location for the sign and ensure that it doesn’t become an added distraction at an already busy intersection.
Though similar signs are not allowed in the downtown business district -- roughly bordered by Division Street, the Kinnickinnic River, Cascade Avenue and Second Street -- the library sits just outside its boundary.
Miller said the library must also make sure it adheres to the municipal code that regulates such signs. For example, the message part of the sign may only occupy 60% of the sign; letters must appear in one color, amber or red; wording may only change once per hour 6 a.m.-midnight; the sign must have photosensitive equipment that automatically adjusts its brightness and contrast; messages displayed must be for services or products provided by the sign owner; messages may not scroll or flash; and the digital sign area may not have any other temporary or permanent signage along with it.
The board and foundation each committed $15k, but Miller said how much is spent on the sign depends on what kind is chosen and what type of base it has. The overall price may be less than $30,000.
Miller confirms that taxpayer money will not be used to purchase the sign. The RFPL Foundation is an independent non-profit organization, and though the city invests the funds for the library board, all the money going to both entities comes from library supporters -- bequests, donations, gifts -- and from various fundraisers such as book sales.