We’re reaching out to voters this November with a bond issue for capital improvements. Although it’s never easy to approach voters for tax dollars, it’s always a pleasure to share how we are able to better serve our patrons as we provide much needed services to all our citizens. In the spirit of transparency, I’ll be using this blog to share information.
This week, let’s look at our Bainbridge Branch.
Bainbridge is an interesting study. This is the smallest of our five buildings, not counting our two stations located inside schools. Bainbridge is only 10,000 square feet, yet it serves our fastest growing community in the thriving Kenston school district. With cramped shelf space, no study rooms and only one community space, the building is frequently overcrowded.
Heating and maintaining the Bainbridge Branch is expensive. We built it in 1985 to satisfy an immediate need for a growing community in need of a library. Prior to that, the branch was housed in a small strip mall on Washington Street. It was so cramped that the poetry section was stored in the men’s restroom. In the 1980 GCPL annual report, the Bainbridge Branch had the highest increase in circulation and the highest circulation of any of the branches. And, during the 1980s, interest rates were high (more than 20 percent). Given that the community was expressing a need for a library, we gave them the best we could afford at that time – a structure that was not commercial-grade construction. For comparison purposes, our Middlefield and Geauga West Branches were built to last. We invite you to visit each of our buildings and you’ll notice the differences.
These discussions are not new. We have Library Board minutes dating back to the 1990s showing discussions of citizens’ desires to have a bigger, better equipped library in Bainbridge. So, even 20 years ago, the need was being expressed for a new building. Today, Bainbridge’s windows, heating and ventilation system, and other structural and mechanical systems are expensive to maintain. In fact, it costs 73 percent more to heat Bainbridge than it does to heat Geauga West. Plus, Bainbridge needs new lighting, insulation and carpeting which could cost $250,000. There comes a time when it is no longer prudent to continually invest public money in locations that could be updated with energy efficient systems. That time is now.
Perhaps the issue that patrons notice the most, however, is the cramped conditions. Groups frequently are unable to book the community room because it’s in near constant use. People often have to wait for tables and computers. There are no study carrels or private tutoring rooms.
The new Bainbridge Branch will be about 30,000 square feet and will be made with construction-grade materials that will stand the test of time – much as the Geauga West Branch, built in 1989, has done. We are excited about helping citizens live, learn and grow right here in the heart of Geauga County. We want to help people find what drives their dreams. Building a new Bainbridge Branch is a solid step in that direction.