West Side News

Southwest Public Libraries

New library, more digital media among system's goals

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Southwest Public Libraries has begun 2013 by setting its goals for the coming year.

In its annual organization meeting held on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the Grove City Public Library, the Southwest Public Libraries Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept proposed goals for 2013. In addition, the board voted to extend contracts through Dec. 31, for Director Mark Shaw, Communications Manager Amy Shaw and Westland Area Library Reference/Adult Services Librarian John Kazalia.

One of the biggest goals of the year will be negotiating with Grove City to secure an agreement for the construction of a new Grove City Library. The library, currently located at 3359 Park St., is part of the Pizzuti Cos.' proposal to redevelop the city's town center.

Conceptual plans, approved by city council in December, include the relocation of the library to the intersection of Broadway and Grant Avenue and moving city hall from 4035 Broadway to the current site of the library.

Director Shaw said the problems with the existing Grove City library include inadequate parking, lack of quiet study space and lack of meeting room space.

"We've had to turn groups away," he said.

According to early conceptual plans submitted by Pizzuti, the new library would have 140 parking spaces, an increase from the current facility's 65, which includes eight on-street parking spots.

Shaw said the library is in discussion with the city, which he added will be assisting financially, although an amount has yet to be determined.

"We're hopeful we can work out a deal with the city," he said. "We think with a new library, we can become a really great community center."

The library will also be working with other Franklin County library directors to lobby elected officials about the importance of libraries as the state formulates its next budget this year.

"We got hit (in the last state budget)," Shaw said. "We're hopeful we can do a little better this go-around."

Southwest Public Libraries will also be integrating into the Central Library Consortium, a partnership among central Ohio member libraries that encourages collaboration, resource sharing, staff development and innovation, according to the organization's website.

Southwest Public Libraries will join the consortium along with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Worthington Libraries. In all, 11 libraries will serve 1.4 million residents in six counties and offer nearly 1.2 million unique titles.

"We're shooting to have that done by the middle of the year," Shaw said. "Patrons will have access to more materials, so we're excited about that."

Other library goals approved by the board include completing an overhaul of personnel policies, expanding the library's offering of eBooks and other digital media, building community partnerships and completing a sign project at the Westland branch as part of new branding effort.

In other board news, the trustees voted to make Lisa Leasure board president, Kay Byard its vice president and Janet Shailer its secretary for 2013.

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