Cedar Roe Library, closed by flooding, topic of town hall next week

The Cedar Roe Library branch is temporarily closed this week due to electrical damage from flooding. The town hall meeting will focus on its long-range future.

The future of the Cedar Roe Library in Roeland Park will be the topic of a town hall meeting next week at Sylvester Powell Community Center in Mission. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. next Thursday, June 13. The purpose is to discuss the impending capital plans by the Johnson County Library system that could lead to the consolidation of Cedar Roe and closing its current site.

Ironically, the Cedar Roe library has been closed all this week because of flooding that affected the electrical panel. During last week’s heavy rains, water came through the foundation and knocked out electricity to the building. The library can’t re-open until a part for the panel arrives, according to Jennifer Mahnken in branch services. The expectation is that the library will open next Tuesday, but patrons should check the library site for updates.

Aside from the electrical issue, the Cedar Roe branch gets a low grade on its physical building. The current facilities and capital improvement plan the library is pursuing calls for the Cedar Roe and Antioch libraries to be consolidated at a new location. The meeting next Thursday will include a presentation by Johnson County Librarian Sean Casserly about the capital plans. The purpose of the meeting, co-ordinated by Roeland Park, is described as to develop a response to the possible consolidation and relocation.Part of the library plan could call for an un-manned book kiosk machine at the Roeland Park Community Center.

The Cedar Roe branch serves a large section of northeast Johnson County and the town hall is for anyone interested in its future. Roeland Park sent out an e-mail describing the meeting and the library plans this week. The full text of the e-mail is after the jump.

Cedar Roe Library – LIBRARY TOWN HALL – 6/13 at 7 pm at Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center Thursday, June 13th at 7:00 p.m. at Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center, 6200 Martway St Mission, Kansas.

The purpose of this meeting is to develop a response to the possible removal, consolidation and relocation (likely not in Roeland Park) of the Cedar Roe Library with a possible partial replacement library presence as a large “un-manned” book kiosk machine at the Roeland Park Community Center.

Recently Roeland Park Mayor Joel Marquardt met with Johnson County Librarian, Sean Casserley, and the Northeast Johnson County’s representative on the Johnson County Board of Directors, Nancy Hupp, regarding the process the library system will use to update the library facilities master plan. The Johnson County Library System is currently considering recommending to the County Commission that the Cedar Roe Library branch in Roeland Park be consolidated with the Antioch Library branch located in Merriam at a new location, likely not in Roeland Park. Also under consideration is the recommendation that a large book kiosk be located at the Roeland Park Community Center for book ordering and dispensing.

The Library staff has reviewed the many Johnson County branch libraries and put out a general assessment report including a grade for each branch (see report through this link: https://www.jocolibrary.org/upload/library/docs/pdf/Fully%20Compiled%20FMP%20book.pdf). Cedar Roe is highlighted on pages 42, 43 and a1-10 of that report. The report’s findings gave the Cedar Roe facilities an “F” on a typical grade scale. With that information, the county librarian said the Library is strongly considering a recommendation to the County Commission to consolidate Cedar Roe with Antioch into a larger library branch at a new yet undetermined location. The Library is also considering an electronic book order/delivery kiosk at the Roeland Park Community Center. As it was described it appears the kiosk is similar to a huge Redbox (9’x12′), with hundreds of books as well as the capacity to order and deliver books in a couple of days. The Library has not decided on a location for a new larger consolidated branch, however we believe it is likely that a new branch would be located somewhere generally between the current Cedar Roe and Antioch branches. The Library indicated this is a sustainable way to provide Northeast Johnson County with a quality Library system as they believe these existing branches to have multiple problems. The County Librarian said the Library is looking for input and hopefully support going forward. From what we understand, resident support could help the project, but resistance could block it. There is no specific indication of this, however the status quo could lead the Cedar Roe branch to become a deteriorating branch and keep the Antioch branch in its present, size-limited state.

The Library’s current schedule is to update the master facilities plan by their July 11th Library board meeting. The next step would be for the Library to give a formal recommendation to the County Commissioners in December, 2013. The Library is likely to seek a County Mill increase (the vote will likely be placed on the November 2014 or April 2015 ballots) if the County Commission doesn’t outright fund this and other county-wide improvements. We will have a Town Hall meeting with others in the Cedar Roe area (including neighboring Cities) to present and discuss the Library’s facility plan and its impact on Cedar Roe Library on Thursday, June 13, at 7:00 p.m. at the Sylvester Powell Community Center in Mission, KS. The County Librarian, Sean Casserley, and the Northeast’s representative on the Library Board, Nancy Hupp, will be present to discuss the facilities study and current direction. Additionally, at the July 1st Roeland Park Council meeting, the Council may discuss this topic to find if the governing body would like to take a formal position for the City, and how to present it to the Library’s leadership and board if they do.

Roeland Park’s two primary citizen support leaders, Susan Sanders and Sandra Sanchez can be reached at cedarroe@yahoo.com . Roeland Park Council Champion for citizen comments on the Library will be Sheri McNeil and emails about the library can be copied to her at smcneil@roelandpark.org. Please let the citizen support leaders know your thoughts or if you would like to further discuss prior to the Town Hall Meeting.