Thursday November 16, 2017
On Saturday, November 11, the South Burlington Community Library closed the doors in its shared library space at South Burlington High School (SBHS) for the very last time. The library’s next chapter will begin December 7 when it opens at its transitional location at the University Mall.
Why a new library?
Long and frequent conversations have been taking place for many years about the need for a larger, standalone library to accomodate the library’s growth in collections and programming. A 2004 facility study identified the need for expansion, followed by Library Steering Committee focus group sessions (2005-2006) and a 2006 feasibility study. A City Center Public Facilities Task Force in 2013 also recommended that the library, in addition to City Hall and the recreation department, should be relocated to the City Center Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.
The city has been searching for a transitional location for years, so when space at the University Mall became available, a decision had to be made quickly before the 7,800 sq. ft. storefront could be leased to another business for the upcoming holiday, explained City Manager Kevin Dorn.
Thus, preparations for the move have been swift since the city council meeting on September 5, when council voted 4:1 to approve the lease. Volunteers and library staff have clocked countless hours sorting and separating the collections in anticipation of the move. With the doors now closed to the public, books and materials are being packed and readied for transport to the new library space. Preparations at the UMall continue as furniture, shelving and fixtures are assembled and put in place, in anticipation of the arrival of the collections, computers and other materials.
While the library settles into its new temporary location, preliminary plans for a new library on Market Street near Central School are underway. City council approved a purchase and sale agreement for the property in early September and last week approved architectural firms Wiemann Lamphere and Humphries Poli to draft designs for a new library and city hall. Community focus groups will be held to determine what residents desire in a new library, design ideas will be presented by the architects, and ultimately the plans will be put to voters on a November 2018 ballot.
SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent