FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The ACPL took the next steps in their Facilities Master Plan by holding a Q&A session with the public Monday night. About 50 members of the community attended.
The meeting lasted just under two hours. It began with an overview of the proposed plan, which includes various renovations and upgrades to the library’s buildings. The Facilities Master Plan achieves the outcome of a 2017 strategic plan developed by the library, which aims to upgrade the library’s branches to meet necessary 21st century library services. Communities that invest in libraries are well prepared for what the next chapter brings, according to an article by the Washington Post discussed in the meeting.
This includes upgrades and changes to children, teen, and adult spaces, meeting and collaboration spaces, technology spaces, and outdoor spaces.
The plan is in response to growing populations, the needs of residents, the current condition of library branches, and the funding available both now and in the future.
Each location was evaluated in 2021 for its condition, ability to meet current service demands at its current size, ability to expand, and if a renovation and/or expansion can meet a 10-year service demand.
Two options have been proposed as a result of the building and demographics evaluation. Each option features unique renovations, new facility proposals, and the elimination of some current facilities.
Ultimately, the options emphasize the need for upgraded or new facilities in the northwest and southwest sections of Allen County, where the highest population growth is occurring exponentially. Changes will also be needed in the northeast part of the county, where population growth is still consistent. The southeast side of the county is seeing static population growth, so the need for wholescale changes is not as immediate in this area.
After presenting all of this information, the upgrades to the various spaces was discussed. A summary of the renovations, proposed new buildings, and proposed selling of properties was presented.
The floor was then opened for questions. Topics discussed included art spaces, media spaces, Generation Z opportunities, why there isn’t new development planned in the southeastern part of the county, and the impact on tax payers.
The meeting then concluded with a breakdown of open houses the library will be conducting in the coming weeks, where feedback on the proposed plans will be discussed. The goal is for the library board to officially approve a plan by April 2022.