COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) is kicking off the renovation and expansion of its Northern Lights Branch (see rendering below). To mark the occasion, CML will hold a short, highly visual program that will include library leaders and city and community officials, as well as representatives from project architect DesignGroup, construction manager at risk Turner Construction and owner’s representative Pizzuti Companies. The brief ceremony will begin promptly at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17 at 4093 Cleveland Ave. Parking is available in the branch parking lot. The event is free and open to all.
The Northern Lights Branch was originally built in 1993 and is one of the most heavily used locations in CML’s 22-library system. The upcoming renovation and expansion will more than double the size of the branch from 11,881 square feet to more than 26,000, increase parking and offer more room for programs and services.
The Northern Lights Branch renovation and expansion is part of CML’s 10-project aspirational building program. The new Driving Park Branch opened on July 12, 2014, renovations formally began on Main Library in February and the new Whitehall Branch opened to the public on April 11. Additionally, CML plans to break ground on its Parsons, Northside and Shepard projects this year.
To prepare for construction, the Northern Lights Branch closed to the public beginning Sunday, April 19, and reopened on Monday, May 4 at its temporary location in the former Brookhaven High School (4077 Karl Rd.) less than two miles away. Hours of operation at the temporary location are the same as branch hours, and the collection size has been reduced with a focus on high-interest titles. When the Northern Lights Branch reopens in its expanded space in 2016, the collection will return to its previous size.
CML leased the 12,000-square-foot temporary space – within the school’s former library and computer lab – from Columbus City Schools for $1 a year for two years.
CML understands that great libraries create stronger communities, and each branch is an essential hub that reflects the unique needs of the neighborhood it serves. Some of CML’s 22 locations are 40 to 50 years old and inadequate to meet the demands of a growing 21st century community. Demands and expectations will continue to grow, along with the population of Franklin County.
CML’s aspirational building program is the result of a community-wide process that will continue to serve the needs of Franklin County well into the future. The plan is a multi-phased comprehensive blueprint that reinvents and revitalizes the entire 600,000 square feet maintained by the library.
In addition to being a vital community asset, Columbus Metropolitan Library strives to minimize its environmental footprint. With each new building or renovation project, CML plans to use sustainable building materials, incorporate glass for natural light to reduce energy costs and introduce other design and building elements friendly to the natural environment.
Phase one of CML’s aspirational building program is transforming and significantly upgrading seven urban branches (Driving Park, Whitehall, Parsons, Martin Luther King, Northside, Northern Lights, Shepard) and two suburban branches (Hilliard and Dublin). In addition, changes to Main Library represent a major investment in downtown Columbus and the Discovery District.
Visit columbuslibrary.org for more information and to track progress of CML’s ambitious building program.
Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Club and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college readiness and employment resources.
CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. Columbus Metropolitan Library has been rated a 5-Star Library by Library Journal for seven of the eight years the magazine has published its industry ratings.