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Clintonville Library Board discusses expansion project

Board members will visit other libraries

By Bert Lehman

The Clintonville Library Board has begun discussion about the issues involved with expanding the Clintonville Public Library in the future.

At the Library Board’s meeting on Oct. 16, Clintonville Public Library Director Jamison Hein presented a report to the board with his thoughts about library expansion. The board had requested the report based on a hypothetical scenario in which the library could be expanded by 3,000 square feet.

In his report, Hein stated he used information from a recently completed survey, what other libraries have done expanding their buildings, and his own professional experience to create the report.

Hein stated in the report that from the information he gathered, the Clintonville Public Library needs more dedicated and defined spaces in the library, including the expansion of the children’s area and meeting rooms, adding a young adult and teen space, and creating a digital literacy/computer lab.

The report stated that the majority of the children’s space is dedicated to collections.

“More space for the children’s area could add places for silent reading for kids and parents,” Hein said in the report.

He added that a large amount of kids visit the library after school, and when the meeting room is expanded, the children’s area is congested.

“Basically, adding more space would allow more room for kids to interact and do fun activities,” Hein concluded in the report.

Regarding a young adult and teen area, Hein said in the report that currently their space is signified by having young adult material shelved in the area.

“That leaves teens to be either in the children’s section or in the magazine reading area, which for the most part they don’t want to be in either space,” Hein said in the report. “They don’t want to be associated with little kids and the adults may find them distracting if they are in the magazine reading area.”

Hein said in the report that the library is fortunate to have the meeting room space that it does have. He also pointed out that there are times when library programs fill the meeting rooms and attendees spill into the children’s area.

The addition of a computer lab was something brought up in a recent survey the library conducted, Hein said in the report.

“Currently we don’t have the right space or enough computers to start it,” Hein said in the report. “Also, a computer lab could offer different technology than what is offered at the public internet stations.”

Hein added that the current library space could use updating to make it more accessible for patrons with mobility issues. It could also use more outlets to allow patrons to plug in laptop computers, tablets, and phones.

At the Oct. 16 meeting, board Chairman Jerald Schoenike told the board the report opens the topic of whether the board should do something regarding expanding the library.

“One of the things we need to be aware of is the library today is different than it was 50 years ago,” Schoenike said. “It isn’t just books.”

He added that computers have become more prevalent at libraries.

“Tonight when I came to the library all the computers were being used and there were people waiting to get on them,” Schoenike said.

Schoenike added that the library also has substantial collections of CDs, both music and video.

“All are changing the dynamics of how we serve our community,” Schoenike said.

Citing those factors, Schoenike said the library board needs to look ahead and plan for the future.

He said the board needs to look past just computers, and research what the electronic needs of the library will be in the future.

Board member Tim Sweet said he likes the idea of adding more adult programs to the library’s schedule.

“This has the possibility of almost a cultural center, where a lot of different things are happening, and they’re happening at the library,” Schoenike said. “If you think about that vision then what do we need to do to get there.”

Board member Virginia Federwitz said any expansion needs to allow for flexibility for change in the future.

Schoenike said he didn’t feel the board needs to rush the expansion discussion, but it needs to continue moving forward.

The board decided to tour four libraries within a two hour radius of Clintonville. It assigned Hein to put together a list of possible libraries to tour.

At the Nov. 13 Library Board meeting, Hein provided the board with a list of libraries to possibly visit. The board decided to visit the Wautoma Public Library in December and other libraries after the New Year.

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