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Sylvania Branch Library to close for update

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    Much of the brick exterior of the Sylvania Branch Library on Monroe Street will be kept, but the glass will let the community take a look inside, a spokesman said.

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The Sylvania Branch Library on Monroe Street will close in less than a month for extensive renovations that officials and patrons alike hope will update the dated space.

Built in the 1950s, the 18,170-square-foot library has had no major update since 1989.

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Much of the brick exterior of the Sylvania Branch Library on Monroe Street will be kept, but the glass will let the community take a look inside, a spokesman said.

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“It definitely needs something,” Sylvania resident Larry DuVall said. “It’s been a long time.”

Plans call for adding about 4,000 square feet, creating a dedicated makerspace — a place where people with shared interests can gather to work on projects — expanding meeting rooms, creating a quiet-reading lounge with a gas fireplace, building a self-serve vending area with seating, and expanding the children’s section.

RELATED CONTENT: Sylvania Library expansion approved

VIDEO: See renderings of the plans to improve Sylvania Branch Library

“There’s a diverse amount of interests in the area,” Toledo Lucas County Public Library spokesman Ben Malczewski said. “We think we can have something for everybody and create a balance so that everybody finds a home here.”

The library will close Aug. 7. Renovations are scheduled to begin Sept. 5. The work is expected to cost between $5 million and $7 million. It will be paid for through the library system’s building and repair fund, which gets its money through state funding and local tax levies.

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The new design will maintain much of the building’s traditional brick exterior, which blends with the neighboring Maplewood Elementary School and Sylvania Municipal Court buildings, but it also calls for modern glass panels along the front and back of the building.

“If you’re driving or walking by you can see what’s going on inside, so it draws the community in,” Mr. Malczewski said. “But it also brings the light in too.”

He emphasized the library’s full print collection will stay intact alongside new features such as a laptop bar, 3D printing station, and a technology and business center geared toward entrepreneurs so they can scan, print, and charge devices all in one place.

“We want to really honor print as much as we want to engage and excite people with technology as well,” Mr. Malczewski said.

Plans to overhaul the Sylvania branch have been in the works since 2014 but were put on hold because finding a temporary space to continue library operations would have been costly. With the King Road library now open, patrons will have a local alternative for the 10 to 12 months the Monroe Street location will be closed for construction.

Sylvania Township resident Andrea Katz said she is in favor of the renovation, especially as it calls for expanding the children’s area. She takes her children, ages 1 and 5, to the library often, especially during the summer.

“I don’t come here and think, ‘gosh, this place is run down.’ But any updating that they think is good is good with me,” Mrs. Katz said.

Andy Ziss of Berkey said he is also looking forward to an updated children’s space. He brings his 2-year-old twins to story time at the library every Tuesday and then together they browse the children’s section.

“It’s all about the books,” Mr. Ziss said. “The kids like coming here.”

Both Mr. Ziss and Mrs. Katz said the library’s closure won’t curb their family library outings. They’ll simply go to another branch until the work is complete.

Contact Sarah Elms at: selms@theblade.com or 419-724-6103 or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

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