In recent months, the team at MCPL has been welcoming customers back to the first branches to be reimagined as part of the Library’s Capital Improvement Plan. I hope that you’ve been able to visit some of the newly reopened branches, which have been beautifully renovated inside and out.
Several years ago, we tried some new things at our North Independence and South Independence Branches as well as at our Woodneath Library Center. We had asked customers what kind of services they wanted for their library, and suffice it to say the traditional building configuration was no longer useful for what most Library customers wanted and needed.
People asked for more outlets for devices; space to linger and visit with friends and neighbors; small rooms to collaborate and work together; and outdoor space to sit and use Library resources. The greatest challenge was that people wanted the Library to be a vibrant and active place that would be attractive to young people, while at the same time, having space that was quiet enough to study or read without disruption.
How do you make a space that is loud and silent at the same time? How do you create space that is for the general public but feels like it was designed especially for you? How do you create space that is comfortable for toddlers, children, teens, adults, and seniors all at the same time? Can you provide enough print and digital together?
I’d like to invite you to judge for yourself by visiting our Antioch, Blue Springs South, Excelsior Springs, Platte City, Oak Grove, and Weston Branches. What is your favorite part of these reimagined locations? Try all the new seating, and tell me your favorite. Can you find enough outlets?
This feedback is helpful as we’ve only just begun. In fact, as we reopened these six locations, we closed the Camden Point, Claycomo, Dearborn, Edgerton, Kearney, and Lone Jack Branches for renovations. We are also finishing the new community hall at the Midwest Genealogy Center, and after the New Year, we will be starting the new East Lee’s Summit Branch.
We are finishing property acquisitions for the expansion of the Colbern Road Branch and the replacement location for the Liberty Branch, and we are about to get started on the replacement for the Red Bridge Branch.
I think if everything holds to form, by this time next year, about 25 of the Library’s 31 branches will have been closed, reimagined, reopened, and will be ready to serve you!
Steven V. Potter
MCPL Director & CEO
I am very excited about our new library on the southeast side of town. As soon as I saw the sign appear, I have envisioned a shared space with Panera. There is such a combination library/Panera in Springfield, MO. My family stops there several times a year and I always think it is such a neat idea! With the hospital, churches, senior living and large neighborhoods in the area, not to mention the highway literally right here n front of it, I think this would totally rock this area!