West Side News

Library officials like no-extension plan for Columbus Street


The debate whether to extend Columbus Street through the proposed site of the new Grove City library remains ongoing, but library staff and officials are happy with the design they have -- without the extension.

Southwest Public Libraries hosted an open house Thursday, Aug. 7 at the Grove City Library to show current conceptual drawings and plans for the new Grove City Library, to be built at the corner of Grant Street and Broadway in the Town Center. Library Director Mark Shaw and other staff members were on hand to discuss the plan with patrons and answer questions.

The plan, a schematic design prepared by project architect Braun & Steidl Architects, presented at the open house does not include an extension of Columbus Street through the parcel. If an extension of Columbus Street goes through, this existing plan would have to be scrapped, said Lore Lehr, Youth Services/Outreach Librarian.

"We would have to start again," she said.

Shaw said the aim behind the two-story, 48,000 square foot building was to reflect that libraries today have to be flexible enough to meet future needs.

"Libraries are morphing into community gathering spaces instead of just book warehouses," he said.

Among the features presented in the plan two meeting rooms that fit a combined 160 people, a teen center, a tech loft, a reference/genealogy/ local history section, a roofed outdoor plaza and private study rooms.

"This is really something we've wanted: sealed off study areas," Shaw said. "I get more complaints about noise than anything else."

A teen area is one thing the existing library currently doesn't have. Right now, Lehr said, teens are a bit neglected by the library, adding that some of ideas for the teen center came for responses of the library's teen volunteers.

"Teens will tell you exactly what they think," she said. "They deserve their space."

The features and layout for the library were also based on input given to Braun & Steidl by library staff members over a number of sessions as well as public surveys, said Reference/Adult Services Librarian Bethanne Johnson.

"They asked us lots of different questions about a lot of different things," Johnson said. "It's exciting."

Lehr said the design was "beautiful."

"It's everything that we wanted," she said.

SPL Trustee Pattie Moncman said she thinks this is the best plan.

"Staff always knows what they need and where it needs to be," she said. "This is the plan I think is best."

Last week, Grove City Council received the findings of a study that examined the feasibility of an extension of Columbus Street. While the study recommended not extending Columbus Street, three of the five council members said they supported the extension.

The library board was scheduled to take action on the study's findings at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 12.