Worthington Libraries will expand its Worthington Park Library for a third time to keep up with increased use by patrons.

Chuck Gibson, Worthington Libraries director, said the location circulated 658,088 items in 2017. This is a 110 percent increase from the 312,903 items it circulated in the first full year the branch was open, according to Lisa Fuller, director of community engagement for Worthington Libraries.

The library opened in a shopping-center storefront at 1389 Worthington Centre Drive, Columbus, in 2008 to serve children and families in the area, Fuller said.

The location previously was expanded from its original 5,280 square feet in 2013. The current size is 8,383 square feet and the expansion will add 5,807 square feet, bringing the total to 14,190 square feet, according to a release from Worthington Libraries.

"We sort of knew from the time we opened it that it was too small," Fuller said.

The latest expansion will involve the library taking over a former fitness center that in the Worthington Park Centre, which is anchored by a Kroger. The shopping center is north of Interstate 270 and just west of Interstate 71.

Fuller said she is not sure of a timeline for the construction but library leaders hope to have their annual community breakfast at the expanded location in April.

The expansion will allow for 13 positions to be added to the Worthington Park Library. Fuller said the application process started last week.

"Because it is a larger facility, there will have to be more staff to support it," Gibson said.

Gibson said the expanded branch would include a dedicated teen space, a larger adult section, individual study spaces, a larger meeting room, additional computers, a fireplace and comfortable seating.

The project will cost $1,038,876, with an additional management fee of $31,167 going to the landlord of the shopping center, according to a press release from Worthington Libraries.

None of the other two Worthington Libraries locations – Old Worthington and Northwest – will expand this year, Gibson said.

ominnier@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekOlivia