COLUMBUS—Before Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) formally dedicates its new Whitehall Branch with a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration on Saturday, April 11, thousands of items need to be moved. Earlier today, Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard, Whitehall City Schools Superintendent Brian Hamler and other city officials pushed book carts full of library materials from the old branch (4371 E. Broad St.) a short block east to the new branch (4445 E. Broad St.).
On Saturday, April 11, Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) will open its new Whitehall Branch to the public with a brief dedication ceremony followed by a grand opening celebration. The event, from noon-3 p.m. at 4445 E. Broad St., is free and open to all.
The new Whitehall Branch represents the second of 10 library locations (including Main Library) to be renovated or rebuilt in the next few years. Ground broke for the new building on Sept. 10, 2013.
CML opened its new Driving Park Branch on July 12, 2014.
As CML prepares to dedicate its brand new Whitehall Branch, staff fondly remembers Carol Snowden, a 30-year librarian who willed $750,000 to the branch when she passed away in 2008. This incredible gift is being used to build a signature children and teens’ space in the new branch. CML is thrilled to keep Carol’s legacy alive in a new interactive space where curious young minds can grow.
At more than 50 years old and just shy of 7,500 square feet, the current Whitehall Branch at 4371 E. Broad St. is one of the oldest and smallest locations in CML’s 22-library system. When it opens next month, the new branch will offer 20,000 square feet of space and 122 parking spaces (up from 40 at the current branch).
The current Whitehall Branch at 4371 E. Broad St. will close to the public at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1 in order to facilitate the move to the new space. CML will retain ownership of the old building to temporarily house its Local History & Genealogy Division during the renovation of Main Library. Once Main Library’s renovation is complete in summer 2016, the Local History & Genealogy Division will move back to Main Library, and the building at 4371 E. Broad St. will be for sale.
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.