The Wonder of Woodneath
July 11, 2012
Have you heard about Woodneath? The new library branch is scheduled to open in Spring or Summer of 2013 in the Shoal Creek area. It will help to reduce the strain that increased population and circulation have placed upon the nearby Liberty Branch. In 2010-2011, the Liberty Branch circulated 723,166 items, surpassing every other branch in our system. The Liberty Branch isn't large enough to provide all the services needed to effectively serve that many patrons. Woodneath will provide another service outlet in this booming area.
A bit more about Woodneath: It's going to be a "Destination Library." Go on and envision something similar to the remodeled North Independence Branch. The layout will be similar, but Woodneath's history makes it unique. The property was acquired from the Crouch family, who had been on the land for over 100 years! The house on the land is considered a national landmark, and planning and construction of the branch has to account for this.
The house at Woodneath was built for Elbridge Arnold. Construction began in 1855 and concluded in 1856, with Elbridge's wife seeing that the project was completed, as her husband died before its completion. The land at Woodneath boasts one of the oldest antebellum houses in the Kansas City area. Being located in Clay County, the house was unaffected by Order Number 11, which mandated the evacuation of several homes in 4 other counties. During the war, one of the upper bedrooms was used as a school room when guerilla activity in the area made it too dangerous for children to use the schoolhouse. The land came to be owned by a handful of individuals after the Arnold's, the last of which was the Crouch family. While one of the surviving Crouch descendants says she's sad to see the land go, she also treasures the fact that her family's history will be preserved publicly rather than lost forever to a private buyer.
One of the intended functions of the Woodneath Branch is as a meeting space. While a lot of work will go into developing the collection, emphasis will also be placed on making Woodneath a community place. In addition to meeting rooms, a performance space could also accommodate programs with up to 250 attendees.
Want to know more? Put in your 2 cents? MCPL has created a branch page for Woodneath. The Director of Libraries Steve Potter checks the page regularly and makes every effort to respond to questions/concerns. There is also a Facebook page for the project. Go on and take a look at the suggested floor plan if curiosity has gotten the better of you. You can also watch a series of videos in which former Library Director Dick Wilding and the project's primary architect address questions and concerns.
What do you think? Will you make the drive to check out Woodneath when it opens?
North Independence Branch