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Friends hosting info meeting about library's potential move

January 05, 2011 - Folks interested in learning all about a proposal to triple the size of the Addison Township Public Library by moving it into a local strip mall are invited to attend an informational meeting on Thursday, Jan. 13.

Hosted by the Friends of the Addison Township Public Library, the meeting will start at 7 p.m. and take place in the township hall at 1440 Rochester Rd. in Lakeville.

"There will be an informative slideshow for the community," said Friends President Laura Schaefer. "All the pros and the cons will be presented."

Schaefer is encouraging people to attend this meeting "because it's their community and we want them to be informed of what's happening."

For several months now, the Addison library board has been contemplating a proposal to lease approximately 3,000 square feet of space in the Lakeville Towne Square strip mall for $1,000 per month, plus utilities such as electricity and gas.

"The location is ideal," said library Trustee Evelyn Pickwick, who will be making the public presentation. "We're going to gain about 1,800 square feet . . . And the rent is reasonable."

Owned by Manny Yasso, the strip mall is located on Rochester Rd., just a few hundred feet away from the current public library. Except for a few tenants such as the Lakeville Post Office, a dentist and a real estate/law office, the strip mall is largely vacant and has been for quite some time.

The library board of trustees – an elected township body separate from the private Friends group – is expected to vote on whether or not to lease the space at its 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14 meeting.

Schaefer indicated that she and the Friends support the proposed move.

"I think it's exciting for the community," she said. "We deserve it."

The proposed location would definitely give the library much more space to house its collection of materials and computers, plus give patrons much more space to move around and effectively utilize the facility.

"The space, I think, is critical," Schaefer said. "Our books and the people that go in (the library) will be able to breathe a little bit more."

"The additional shelf space will make materials more accessible. You won't have to use a crowbar to get a book out," Pickwick said.

Since the early 1980s, the Addison library's been housed in a 1,200-to-1,300-square-foot building, constructed in 1968, that once served as a kindergarten classroom.

Su Hatfield, who serves as vice president and secretary of the township library board, agreed about the need for more space.

"We don't have enough shelves for the books that we have. We have to stack them on the floor," she said. "It would be nice to be able to put all the books that we have on shelves."

"There's even some potential for growth of the collection," Pickwick noted.

"It would be really nice to have some more seating, so people can come in, sit down and use the library, especially for studying," Hatfield added.

The proposed location would also give the library much more visibility, given it's located right on Rochester Rd. The current library location is not very visible; it's sort of hidden away next door to the township hall.

"Hopefully, because it would be more on the main road there, more people would see it and more people would use it," Hatfield said. "That's always a good thing."

"It brings the library to the forefront of the community," Schaefer said.

Ample parking is another benefit of the proposed location.

"We have two parking spaces right now," Pickwick said.

Schaefer and Hatfield noted that those who support the move view this as an "interim" location until Addison eventually builds a new library, a project that's been in the planning stages since 2003. The main obstacle has been obtaining the necessary funding.

"Even if they started today with the new library, it would still be three to five years before it was done," Schaefer said. "I think this (strip mall location) is a nice step forward."

"I think it's a chance to provide the citizens with a better library and better services until we can get the new one built," Hatfield said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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