Gahanna residents can get an idea of what their new library will look like during a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 18 at the Gahanna branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 310 Granville St.
After conducting a survey of Gahanna branch customers and holding an initial design meeting in August 2019, Columbus Metropolitan Library will hold a second meeting to share the proposed design with library patrons.
"Our Gahanna branch continues to be one of our busiest locations," said Patrick Losinski, Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO. "It was important, going into this project, that we listened to customer feedback and looked closely at current use and community needs as we invest in building this new 21st-century library."
Ben Zenitsky, the library system's marketing and communications specialist, said a groundbreaking is expected in the third quarter of this year, with a dedication in late 2021 or early 2022 for the roughly $23 million new Gahanna branch.
Angie Sharkey, the Gahanna branch's youth-services manager, said she looks forward to more space, especially in the new library's children's area.
"We have a well-used library for story time and the Homework Help Center," she said. "We will have more space for families to gather. There will be more to look at and experience."
Sharkey said the new branch would include a much bigger Homework Help Center, where there will be access to free printers and computers, and teen and adult volunteers can help with homework.
"It's well-used, and it's a free resource," she said.
While the new library is built in the same space as the current one, Sharkey said, the operations will go into a temporary space in the Gahanna community that has yet to be announced.
"In the temporary site, we will do the Homework Help Center," she said. "We will be functioning the same, on a much smaller scale."
Zenitsky said the Gahanna community's demands have changed significantly since the branch was built in 1991 and renovated in 1998.
"It's absolutely critical that its library branch evolve, as well, to keep up with those needs," Zenitsky said.
At just over 21,000 square feet, the current branch, which ranks among the top in the system for circulation and visits, has certainly been outgrown by the community, he said.
Zenitsky said Losinski would be on hand at the community meeting, along with architects from NBBJ.
A question-and-answer session will be held.
Once the design is unveiled at the meeting, Zenitsky said, the rendering will be included in the library's webpage and it also may be viewed at tinyurl.com/tnyjyod.
A Karl Road branch also is undergoing a rebuild on its current site. A Hilltop branch will receive a renovation and expansion, and a new Reynoldsburg branch will be built at a site to be determined.
The library system hopes to have all four projects completed by 2024.