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King Road branch won’t be overdue for its opening

Library’s been planned since ’70s

Five months before its grand unveiling, the King Road Branch Library is on schedule and on target.

The 23,000-square-foot, $6 million facility will open in late September, featuring unique architecture and an array of technology. And some might say it’s four decades in the making.

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King Road Branch Library under construction April 19.

THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
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“I have a report in my office from 1975 where the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission suggested that the library board keep an eye on that very intersection [King Road and Sylvania Avenue],” said Charlie Oswanski of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system.

“We thought we needed to add a facility to the west, and that intersection was identified as the best location. So this thing has been in the works since 1975. There’s been updates to those studies, but it’s been a long time coming. Everything came together with the property that was available,” he said.

The library will be about 16,000 square feet. The front will have 12,000 square feet of glass, meeting rooms, and a children’s area, all on a raised floor for future flexibility. The building will include computer stations and collaborative and conversation spaces.

The library system is hoping to give patrons a “bookstore” environment. The architecture and natural light is meant to infuse the building with a feeling of inspiration, with the building’s exterior replicating pages of an open book.

“I would say King Road is going to be our biggest technology push yet,” Mr. Oswanski said. “But 50 percent of our circulation is still hard-copy material, almost 6 million annually. So we’re still all about collections and hard copy. King Road will have 3,000 to 4,000 square feet dedicated to just book stacks and hard-copy collection.”

Sylvania Schools helped spur the project when it sold the library system 5.3 acres of land for $600,000. The western part of Lucas County, and more specifically the city of Sylvania and Sylvania Township, has grown considerably over 40 years, dating to the original plan commission’s report.

The Sylvania Public Library was founded in 1927 before moving to its location in 1958. It merged with the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library in 1970, and the building was remodeled in 1989 and 1990.

“We’re very pleased with the location because it leaves us with a library nearby both high schools,” said Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough. “The current Sylvania branch is the busiest branch in the Toledo-Lucas County Library system, and we certainly needed more access in the Sylvania community.”

Said Mr. Oswanski: “We’re not just adding a facility for Sylvania, we’re adding a facility for the population that has moved westward in Lucas County.”

The library is working with Metroparks of the Toledo Area and the Toledo Zoo to have onsite prairie grass and indigenous plants to the Oak Openings region. There will also be outdoors-specific programming.

The facility is drawing much attention for its hue. The building has taken on a bluish tint, which even drew discussion at a recent city council meeting.

Fear not, residents, it’s only for weather and moisture proofing.

Contact Kyle Rowland at: krowland@theblade.com, 419-724-6282, or on Twitter @KyleRowland.

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