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COLUMBIANA Library expansion looms for officials

By Nancy Tullis

Sunday, October 14, 2001

The board will interview architects for the library's $1 million expansion.
COLUMBIANA -- Public library officials are anticipating groundbreaking for a $1 million expansion even though there's still a lot to be done.
Carol Cobbs, library director, said the board will interview architects from six firms Oct. 21. A time line for groundbreaking, construction and completion of the library expansion won't be set until after an architect is in place she said.
Computers: In the meantime, library officials will be replacing the automated computer system over the next several weeks. The new system is necessary to enable the library to be part of an expanding computer network that will eventually link all libraries in Ohio, she said.
Once the new system is fully operational, patrons will be able to link to the local library's system to search for, reserve and renew materials. Patrons will also be able to request books and other materials from other Ohio libraries, she said.
Voters approved a $1 million bond issue in May for the library expansion.
Cobbs said the board will expand the library to the east of the building at 332 N. Middle St.
She said although trustees hope to build a 5,000-square-foot addition, its size will be determined by the effect of inflation on construction costs.
Cobbs said some library staff and a building consultant have toured library additions in the Cleveland area. She said the group will likely tour more sites during the design phase of the project.
Seeking space: The board sought to expand the 10-year-old library because there is no more room in the building to expand, Cobbs said. She said the library has patrons who use wheelchairs, and if more shelves were added, their maneuvering space would be reduced.
Cobbs said more than 350 people visit the library daily, and since the library was built, computers have replaced card catalogs, the library's collection increased 50 percent, its circulation increased 70 percent, and the number of patrons doubled.
Circulation in 2000 was about 174,000 and has increased about 20 percent in 2001, she said.
Patrons have been checking out more videos since the board agreed in January to drop the $1 charge for entertainment videos, Cobbs said.
A computer in the children's department has seen a lot of use since it was installed earlier this year, she said. The computer is one of seven bought through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she said.
Four of the computers have been in place and the other three are being installed this week, she said.