The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has launched a major facilities initiative to construct two new branch libraries, renovate a third branch to make it handicapped accessible, and renovate an historic building into a branch library. Work on all four projects will begin immediately and proceed simultaneously, with completion anticipated in 2015. The total cost of these projects is $11.5 million. The projects will be funded through a combination of prior year savings, existing building and repair funds, and future capital funds. Implementation will not require the Library to ask taxpayers for additional funds.
This is the most significant building improvement plan the Library has undertaken in nearly 25 years. The two new branches are priorities first identified in 2000 and 2001; however, a reduction in Library funding and subsequent funding freezes and cuts have stalled these projects for more than a decade.
St. Bernard, Reading, and Clifton Branches
The new branch libraries will replace three of the Library’s five smallest facilities—St. Bernard, Reading, and Clifton.
St. Bernard Branch
The existing St. Bernard Branch is 2,000-square-feet contributed facility inside the St. Bernard municipal building. In 2000, the City of St. Bernard donated a site and the Library purchased a nearby lot for parking. The new stand-alone library facility to be constructed will be 8,000 square-feet.
The current Reading Branch is a 1,934 square-feet rental facility. In 2005, the Library purchased a 3+ acre property as the future site of a library-owned branch but construction has been postponed due to lack of funding. The new branch will be 12,000 square-feet. To maximize efficiency in the design and construction process, one architect will design both Reading and St. Bernard branches and both projects will be bid as a single package for a total budget of $7 million.
The current Clifton Branch is a 2,520-square feet leased storefront. In 2010, the Library received a donated house on the Historic Register to be renovated into a branch library. The budget to remodel the 10,000 square-foot Parkview Manor is set at $3.5 million. More details about the Clifton Branch project.
A $1.2 million renovation of the 100-year old Avondale Branch Library will make this Carnegie Branch accessible to everyone by adding an alternative entrance, elevator, and two new bathrooms that will remove physical barriers to library service. Additional enhancements will include new carpeting and lighting, an upgraded heating, air condition and ventilation system, improved Internet connectivity, reconfigured service desk, and self-check. More details about the Avondale Branch project.
“We are delighted to begin work on providing these four communities with vastly improved facilities that will better meet their needs and increase access to enhanced library services and resources,” said Kim Fender, the Library’s Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director.