Patrons of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Karl Road Branch will have the chance Feb. 28 to say what they would like to see in the 2.0 version of the building.
The 20,000-square-foot library at 5590 Karl Road opened in 1988. It is due to nearly double in size, and the design meeting is part of the process for deciding what the updated building will include, according to Ben Zenitsky, marking and communications specialist for CML.
The meeting, which will feature library personnel and representatives from the Moody Nolan architectural firm, will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The library's board of trustees voted Oct. 28, 2018 to select Moody Nolan to design the new branch.
"This is really an opportunity for us as an organization and the architect to listen to the community," Zenitsky said. "We want to hear what the community wants to see in its new library branch."
"I'm just really curious to hear what people have to say," said Keith Hanson, manager of the Karl Road location. "We have our ideas of how customers currently use the branch and issues of need ... but I'm curious to hear how people use the library, how they see themselves using it in the future.
"We just want to make sure we're not overlooking anything."
"We get all sorts of thoughts and suggestions, from vague all the way to incredibly specific," Zenitsky said, based on experience from design meetings for other branch replacement or renovation projects.
For a glimpse of what might be possible at Karl Road for a renovated or replaced building, library users need go no further than the Northern Lights branch, 4093 Cleveland Ave., Zenitsky said.
That $10.3 million replacement opened Sept. 24, 2016.
"Karl Road being in such close proximity to our new Northern Lights Branch, it's an opportunity for our customers to see what concepts to expect," Zenitsky said. "They shouldn't expect to see a clone of Northern Lights but some of the same themes through the building."
These include, he said, openness, natural sunlight and an emphasis on flexibility and technology.
Hanson and members of the staff at the Karl Road site have been making patrons aware of the scheduled update to the building.
"We've been highlighting it to customers as they come through the doors and sharing it with parents bringing kids in for programs and teens after school," he said. "They're having a good time of sharing their wish list of what they love about the library and what they want to see in the new library.
"It's just one part of the process. This is exciting for me personally to be involved in the building process."
Zenitsky said there is "an immense sense of ownership" about a public library.
"We really appreciate that," he said. "Our public libraries are a reflection of the communities they serve. We take great pride in creating public library spaces that are useful.
"What we will do later in the year is come back for a second meeting, which is kind of a design unveiling where the architect will present their proposal to the community -- the proposal the library and the architect have worked together to finalize."
The library system's chief executive officer, Patrick A. Losinski, has said construction on the Karl Road project should start in 2020 with anticipated completion early in 2021.