Library seeks to expand building

MIAMI COUNTY — The Troy-Miami County Public Library is seeking to expand its building options to meet the growing demand from the public, increase in resource materials as well as its continued growth for community outreach.

Board of trustees president David Lindeman took the first step to approach the city’s park board for permission to possibly expand the library’s current 17,000-square-foot building and possibly utilize the city’s Brukner Park space located on Water Street last week. Park board commissioner Alan Kappers requested an opinion from the city’s law director to determine how such a transfer would take place should the city be interested in vacating the property.

“Because of its free services, people using the bike trail or walking through downtown will often stop in for a break from the weather, a drink of water, and access to wifi in a climate controlled environment,” said Library Director Rachelle Miller “Where else can you do that for free?”

Miller said the library’s children’s and adult program attendance has been extremely popular with attendance more than double what it was 10 years ago. If the library is able to expand, more meeting spaces, handicapped compliant features and more room for materials as well as additional features for children and adult programming would add to the library’s community space.

“The need for additional space, in addition to making the space meet 21st century standards is critical in order for us to meet community needs now and into the future,” Miller said. “In addition to wanting a library that provides books, we now provide access to the internet, free programs for all ages, literacy based activities, space for public meetings as well as for tutoring, bookmobile services, teacher collections, seating for study, reading or accessing free wifi, educational toys for children and much more. All of these things require space.”

The discussion to expand the library centered around the nearly obsolete heating and cooling system with a replacement estimate of nearly $750,000 or more and would include loss of space for materials. The new equipment would take six months to replace with prevailing wages and would require duct work, piping and a new boiler system. Miller said repairs to the aging system are becoming more costly. Library fiscal officer Julie Campbell reported a vendor was paid $5,331 in 2018 for repairs and again a bill of $4,291.50 this month.

Miller reported the library’s board discussed a variety of options with an architect, including the cost of moving to a new location, building a second story on the current building, demolishing the building and putting up a new one, or building on an addition. The most feasible option economically is to build an addition, however the library is landlocked, and would need the land currently used as a park in order to expand, Miller said.

“The current building was built to house a maximum of 92,000 items. It now has over 130,000 items and no room for growth. While many people access our digital collection of materials, there are still those who want to hold a book and we’d like to have the space for our collection as well as our current services and potential services for the future,” Miller said.