Ed Worso, GCPL Director

Many people have asked about our plans for the Chardon Branch. The short answer is we want to build a new Chardon Branch on the Chardon Square. But, there is a longer answer that I will tackle now.

As written in a 1971 profile of Geauga County Public Library, “In 1965, earnest attention was given to planning for a new building in Chardon and the following year land was bought for this purpose.” There was an effort to pass a bond issue 50 years ago, and twice it failed. A rent lease proposition with the A. M. Higley Company was agreed upon, and in 1970, the best building that could be constructed with the available resources was completed. That particular location has had several renovations over the past 48 years, including the most recent interior renovation completed in 2016.

Despite the excellent work done to modernize and update the building, issues remain that need to be addressed. For the community it serves, it’s too small. The meeting and study room spaces are very tight and heavily used. Cellular phone reception in the lower level is non-existent. This was something that could not be imagined, let alone planned for, in 1970. There are also persistent and growing water infiltration and drainage issues with the lower level.

GCPL Chardon staff members work a Friday evening concert on the Chardon Square.

The biggest current challenge is land. The Chardon Branch is a 17,000-square-foot building on two floors and requires all its existing parking spaces and then some. To increase the size of this building, we have to find more parking. Parking on Chardon Square is an issue for everyone. Any time there is a big event, parking is at a premium. We continue to work with Chardon Tomorrow, Chardon Local Schools and the City of Chardon to find a solution.

The overall building and renovation plan right now is to spend the required 85 percent of the bond-issue money, $20.4 million, on the new buildings in Bainbridge and Thompson plus renovations at Middlefield and Geauga West. We will reserve 15 percent, $3.6 million, for a new Chardon Branch building, setting aside a portion of our operating revenue each year until circumstances allow construction of a new facility on Chardon Square.