New Johnson County Library master plan calls for building more capacity to meet population growth

The plan for new facilities in the Johnson County Library system.
The plan for new facilities in the Johnson County Library system.

A new master plan for the Johnson County Library shows that the system will need to add capacity to keep up with the anticipated population growth in the county over the next 20 years. That growth will dictate adding new library facilities to increase the square footage. But the increase will be outside of northeast Johnson County.

The report, prepared over several months by library consultants, recommends two new libraries be built – one in Blue Valley on the southeast and one at Monticello on the northwest. The report does not recommend closing any of the current library buildings, but proposes that all of the current buildings be modernized. It lists three of the current libraries – again outside of NEJC – as possibilities to relocate and expand.

In NEJC, the Corinth Library would be rebuilt on its current site, a recommendation that was consistent with a facilities report from 2009. Some board members balked at the report’s recommendation that both Antioch and Cedar Roe be modernized by renovation or rebuild. The old report had suggested that the two branches be combined.

The new recommendations are for a capacity of .6 square feet per capita for the library system, a number that the library is already below and will continue to drop as population increases, unless new construction is undertaken. Board member Pamela Robinson, who advocated for combining the two, said said the northeast has .9 square feet per capita among its libraries.

The proposal calls for libraries to be distributed geographically for convenience, but to strategically locate special services. A new operations center to streamline and support the branch offerings also is recommended. The report says the goal is for the distributions of services to be equitable but not identical.

The total library square footage would grow from 282,000 to 422,000 under the proposal.

The study of square footage needs for the library system.
The study of square footage needs for the library system.

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