July 15, 2014

Library prepares to “top out” new Whitehall Branch

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) is building its new Whitehall Branch at 4445 E. Broad St. One of the steel columns to be used in the construction will be on display at the current Whitehall Branch to offer CML customers the chance to sign their names on it and become a part of the neighborhood’s – and library’s – history.

The column will be available for the public to sign beginning today, Tuesday, July 15 through Monday, July 21 at the Whitehall Branch located at 4371 E. Broad St. The Whitehall Branch is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Once the column is ready to be put into place as part of the construction, CML will host members of the media at a special “topping out” event. Cameras will be welcome to what will surely be a lively and visual event marking a significant milestone in the construction of the new branch. The date of this event will be determined based on the construction schedule.

The Whitehall Branch project is the second of 10 construction projects in CML’s aspirational building program to renovate, expand or rebuild 10 library locations before 2020.

CML, along with Turner Construction Company and architect Jonathan Barnes Architecture & Design, broke ground on the site on Sept. 10, 2013, just a short block east of the current branch.

When completed, the new building will have 20,000 square feet of space, nearly tripling the size of the current Whitehall Branch, which has 7,466 square feet. The number of parking spaces will also more than double – from 40 to 100.

CML hopes to open the new branch in spring/summer of 2015.

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 21 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 will transform and significantly upgrade 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 will 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.