With a major expansion and renovation set for the drawing board, the Oregon Branch Library wants to hear from patrons on what they want from their local branch.
A public meeting to gather input on an expansion and renovation project that will add 3,000 to 5,000 square feet to the branch on Dustin Road will be held Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.
The meeting will be held at the Little Sisters of the Poor Sacred Heart Home, 930 S. Wynn Rd.
“It’s going to be a new format for gathering information,” said Charlie Oswanski, superintendent for facilities and operations of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. “I think we’re going to break into groups and have some discussions as individual groups. It depends on how many people turn out for the meeting. The bottom line is we want to know what the patrons like about what we’re doing now. What do they wish we’d do differently? Are there services that they’d like that we are not providing? Does the floor plan work?”
Based on his experience with other branch renovation projects and listening to patrons, Oswanski said he’s expecting to hear requests for a larger meeting room.
“Our meeting rooms get a lot of use and that one as it relates to the rest of the system is real small,” he said. “We’re becoming more of a place that people not only come to for checking out a book but also for inter-acting and collaborating. We’re becoming more and more of a public space.”
The branch on Dustin was built in 1988 and covers about 14,800 square feet.
A Cleveland area firm, HBM Architects, has been selected for the project.
According to the firm’s website, it has worked with more than 200 libraries since the firm was established in 1976.
Oswanski said the project will cost approximately $2 million and a groundbreaking next spring is anticipated. Construction will probably take about nine months.
Planners also want to know what Internet-related technology the branch should offer.
“Employers have migrated to online applications,” Oswanski said. “So job seekers have to know how to get online, how to represent themselves, and they’ve got to know how to submit an application for a job online. Many people who are unemployed don’t have those skills. So they come to us for help. We do that all day long.”
And with so many people having their own personal devices there is a need for space where they can use them, he said.
The building’s mechanical systems will also need to be replaced or updated, he said, and the floor plan may also be changed to accommodate the resources offered to young adults and children.
“More and more people come in and want to work on projects together or they need to work with our staff,” Oswanski said. “We have a lot of tutoring and host G.E.D. classes. We also do homework helper sessions.”