Construction on Community Library’s long-awaited expansion project began almost a month ago, but on May 19 the library held a groundbreaking with children digging the first ceremonial shovels of dirt.
More than 60 people attended the ceremony, about 25 of them preschool age. Library director Chauncey Montgomery said the eight-month project includes a 2,000 square-foot addition to the library, and 6,000 square feet of interior renovations.
“The fact that the library is growing means we, as a community, are growing,” Montgomery said. “Not just growing in numbers, but also growing in curiosity, knowledge and intellect; and the library is a place where knowledge, information and ideas freely flow.”
Montgomery said the library’s $1.3 million addition and renovation project, designed by Columbus-based Design Group, addresses needs expressed by members of the local community. The 2,000 square-foot addition will be located in front of the 12,275 square-foot existing building.
“We will move the staff offices to the west side of the building and convert the old staff offices to three quiet study rooms,” Montgomery said. “The current meeting room will be enlarged, and have a movable divider so it can be made into two spaces. The children’s area will shift into our current staff space, picking up about 500 square feet and be more contained than it is now, allowing us to offer programs in that area.”
Montgomery said there would be a smaller front desk and self-checkout stations, exterior lockers for people to pick up books they’ve ordered but can’t pick up until after regular library hours, and 14 additional parking spaces – 12 of them on the west side of the building. In addition to a drive-through window, there will be a walk-up window for drop-off and pick-up.
“Community Library started a major capital fund when it was built 21 years ago,” Montgomery said. “Any money left over at the end of the year was moved to that account, allowing us to do this without going to the community for additional funds. This is happening because we have local support that made saving possible, especially since the state reduced funding to libraries.”
Montgomery said the goal is to keep the library open during the construction phase to avoid disruption of services; he said they are installing a temporary alternate entrance that would be used during part of the eight-month project.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093