Allen County Public Library explores branch expansion and renovation

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With increased use and aging buildings, the Allen County Public Library is exploring options for its next chapter.

The Board of Trustees met in special session Wednesday to hear branch-by-branch assessments from Bostwick Design Partnership, an architect firm based in Cleveland.

The study (download available below) rated each branch on size vs. use, building condition and expansion capacity for current conditions and projections 10 years out.

For example, the Aboite Branch is not adequately sized, scored lowest on building condition, does not allow for future expansion and cannot be renovated to meet projected 2032 demand.

The cost of the project is unknown because the board faces so many choices. ACPL Director of Community Engagement Stephanny Smith didn’t rule out asking taxpayers for help.

“In yesterday’s meeting we shared that this will likely result in a referendum and then a place on the ballot to approve the bond,” she emailed WANE 15. 

“Because we have not determined the final scope of the project, we do not have a dollar amount for what the taxpayer contribution might be.  It was also shared that the Library has reserves and would be able to contribute as much as $21 million toward the project.”

The public can weigh in at a meeting Monday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. Registration for the livestream session is available on the library’s website. The library plans to offer a public survey, open houses, and will launch a new website, www.YourACPL.org, on Monday.

“It has taken us a year of engaging in conversations with our community and library
staff to get to this point. This is where the fun part begins. I’m excited to hear what the
community thinks about the recommendations. Residents of Allen County feel very
connected to the library, and I’m hoping we receive a lot of feedback,” said Susan
Baier, Executive Director of ACPL.

The final version of the plan, which will be received by ACPL’s Board of Trustees in April
2022, will reflect the community’s feedback.

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