Future library system could include distinct types: destination and neighborhood

The future alignment of the Johnson County Library system and specifically how it might look in the northeast corner of the county is likely to become more clear next month. That is when teams working on a master facilities plan will identify a preliminary map of library service areas.

library-logoThe teams, one internal to the library and a steering committee group outside the library staff, are exploring two types of locations: a destination library with full services and programming and a transactional or neighborhood library where materials can be dropped off or picked up. The neighborhood style libraries also could have meeting room space, according to Library Director Sean Casserley, and might have a vestibule that provides 24-hour automated services.

Casserley told the library board Thursday that the teams will be placing circles on the map in their next task to show preferential locations for library services. The full-service destination libraries will have a three-mile radius and the neighborhood libraries would serve a 1.5 mile radius.

The months-long strategic facilities master plan process is re-assessing a 2009 plan that had called for a rebuild of the Corinth library and a merger of the Cedar Roe and Antioch libraries. That caused concern in Roeland Park and other northeast Johnson County communities that the Roeland Park library would be lost.

The re-assessment, however, is looking at the entire system and the future of how the library will function. In the library of the future, Casserly said, being close to travel routes and community assets like parks, schools and community centers – places they are going – will be important.

The teams have worked on attributes for each type of library and the criteria for where the library services should be placed. And they have a map that identifies the key assets in the county to guide the placement areas. The library system of the future needs to address access, fairness and efficiency, Casserley said.

A number of community stakeholders have been consulted in the planning process, Casserley said. At the same time as the facilities planning is under way, the library staff also is working on a new strategic plan.