Although the spotlight is directed at the rededication of its Main Library, the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system is also brightening its branches with funds from its 1995, $38.6 million capital-improvement ballot measure.
The system spent or has committed more than $16 million to the construction, expansion, or remodeling of each of the system's 18 branches.
The promise to the community when it was asked to approve the levy was that the entire system, not just the downtown Main Library, would be upgraded, said Clyde Scoles, library director.
“I think we've done that. Our service area is Lucas County, but I think we've become a beacon for all of northwest Ohio with, not only the Main Library, but all of the branches,” he said.
As an example, he pointed to the $900,000 expansion at the Holland branch, which is under way.
The patron count at the Holland branch has jumped several hundred in the last year and now ranks just behind Heatherdowns, Sylvania, and Sanger branches in usage.
As part of the total capital improvements by the library system, the areas served by the Sanger and Point Place branches have experienced the greatest change. Each has had new library buildings constructed.
The new Sanger branch, which opened last year on West Central Avenue, cost $2.7 million, and the Point Place branch, which opened in 1999, cost $1.7 million.
The Maumee branch is not considered new construction, but was closed for a year while it was remodeled and expanded. The cost for that work was $2.5 million and resulted in a 20,000-square-foot building, which features an outdoor reading park.
In addition, the Mott branch was renovated and expanded at a cost of $1 million; the Kent branch was renovated for $250,000; and the parking lots at Heatherdowns and Oregon branches were expanded for $50,000 each. The Reynolds Corners branch has expanded parking and renovations that cost $300,000, and the Toledo Heights branch was renovated and expanded for $400,000.
In addition to the work under way in Holland, architects are evaluating sites for a $1.3 million building for the South branch, and work is ongoing for $900,000 of remodeling and additions at the Washington branch and $1.1 million at the West Toledo branch.