The Worthington Park Library will expand into two adjoining storefronts at the Worthington Park Shopping Center.
The 5-year-old branch of the Worthington Libraries dramatically has increased in circulation and programming, and more space is needed to meet the requests of residents in the northeast section of the school district, said Lisa Fuller, Worthington Libraries director of community engagement.
The libraries board of trustees is negotiating the lease of two retail spaces to the west of the library. The spaces recently housed a karate studio and a Chinese restaurant.
Currently, the library system pays $5,980 for the lease, maintenance, insurance, real estate taxes and water and sewer for the 5,280-square-foot storefront.
Remodeling and expansion cost is estimated at $160,000.
Construction is expected to begin this year and take three to four months to complete.
The expansion will increase space by 64 percent. The expanded space will include a community meeting room, programming space, a popular audio-visual collection, an enclosed homework help center and an enlarged children's area.
Since 2009, participation in school-age programs has increased 180 percent. Use of the homework help center has increased 90 percent, and attendance at teen programs has increased 36 percent, according to library figures.
"We're pleased to have this opportunity to expand library service in this part of our community," libraries director Chuck Gibson said. "It's something patrons of Worthington Park Library have been requesting for a long time."
More than a decade ago, the library system purchased land along Sancus Boulevard, next to the Lazelle Woods Recreation Center.
Plans to build a Far North library on the land were postponed for financial reasons.
The board has no plans to sell the land, though, Fuller said.