Library listening session shows strong support for Cedar Roe branch and its services

Participants at a library listening session at the Cedar Roe branch voted for their most valued services during an exercise Saturday morning.
Participants at a library listening session at the Cedar Roe branch voted for their most valued services during an exercise Saturday morning.

The broad support for the Cedar Roe Library branch was evident by the turnout Saturday morning for a listening session held as part of the Johnson County Library’s master planning process currently under way.

More than 20 people showed up for the session, far overshadowing the numbers attending the sessions at other branches, which predominantly ran in the single digits. “This is the biggest crowd yet,” the library’s Brian Voell told the group. “(We) realize there is a lot of support here,” Cedar Roe and Corinth manager Barbara Brand said, noting the community wants to keep a library in this area.

A previous facilities report suggested combining the Antioch and Cedar Roe libraries. The master planning is taking a fresh look at library services and the facilities. “We are looking at everything we provide,” Brand said.

Participants were asked to tell which core services of the library they believe to be the most important and to prioritize specialty services that cannot be housed at each branch. At Cedar Roe, the collection of books, music and movies rated high, but technology and children’s services also were important, even though the crowd skewed older. They did suggest more copies to reduce the waiting list.

The Maker Space (which has a 3-D printer) and studio space, now at Central Library also has support. “That’s the future right there,” one participant said. Another participant pointed out that free meeting space is at a premium and the library serves a need with its community meeting room. Participants also pointed out that Wyandotte County residents use the Cedar Roe library frequently.

“Staff services here (Cedar Roe) have always been incredible,” said Sheri McNeill, a comment echoed by many in the group.

Voell said another round of community meetings will be held in April. A community forum tonight at the Roeland Park Community Center will also feature an update on the planning and the Cedar Roe Library. It starts at 7 p.m.

One unique suggestion the library heard Saturday came from Mission resident Michelle Keller: “A phone booth … to place calls in the library.” People talking on their cell phones could step into the booth so they don’t annoy other patrons. Her suggestion was backed by others who suggested the large red British-style booth.