COLUMBUS – After voters did not approve a bond issue to update the Columbus Public Library in 2017, plans are back in motion to develop a project that meets the community’s needs.
Thursday night, a town hall was held in the library’s auditorium where residents could come and provide their input on what they want to see in a new library. Columbus Public Library Director Karen Connell says that the library needs to be updated in order to comply with what is expected of modern-day libraries.
“The library could be so much more for the community in an updated facility, a facility that was designed for a library, and one that is flexible and can adapt to the future,” Connell said. “In order to be what libraries are, which are community gathering spaces and places for collaboration and creativity, we need a building that can do that.”
Thursday’s town hall also included the results of recent surveys and community roundtable discussions which lead by Connell and Columbus City Administrator Tara Vasicek. Data showed that 73% of those who took the survey said there was a need for a new library, and 40% supported a project that also includes a children’s museum and an arts council space.
Connell says there was also a great interest in a more robust Maker’s Space area, as well as a STEAM lab. Other desires included community rooms, public meeting spaces, and an auditorium/stage.
Connell says that the next step in the process is to gather all of the input collected from the surveys and the town hall, and develop three program options for the community to consider. Connell says that the Library Board wants residents to provide as much feedback as possible on the options, as since it’s a project for the benefit of Columbus, she says that it should be designed by the people of Columbus.