Friday, July 06, 2001

State's busiest library to start on new home

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — By fall 2002, the busiest library branch in Kentucky should have a new home.

        After a two-year search for a site, the Kenton County Public Library System will break ground at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on a $7 million branch.

        The new library at 401 Kenton Lands Road will more than double the size of the current branch, at 3130 Dixie Highway. The 10-acre site, bordered by Riggs Avenue, Hulbert Avenue and Kenton Lands Road, is large enough to accommodate a 34,294-square-foot building and 150 parking spaces, with room for expansion, according to library director Wayne Onkst.

        The site is about 600 feet from where an affiliate of Cinergy Corp. plans to build a mini-power plant. The library board, citing concerns about pollution, has joined eight Kenton County cities in opposing that project.

        Because of limited parking, a Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky bus will shuttle people from the Silverlake Recreation Center at 301 Kenton Lands Road to the site between 10 and 10:30 a.m., said library spokeswoman Robin Klaene. After the ceremony, the shuttle will run from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Limited parking is available at the nearby Baptist Village.

        A small-scale model, architectural rendering and floor plans will be at the groundbreaking, Ms. Klaene said. Architects Mike Bishop and Robert Hayes will be present, along with interior designers, landscape architects and electrical engineers.

        At the current Erlanger branch next to the Silverlake Kroger, library users have long complained about inadequate parking and having to wait in line to use computers. Another problem has been inadequate space for materials, children's books and meetings.

        The Erlanger library is the busiest in Kentucky, with an annual circulation of 542,486 items and more than 30,000 visitors a month, according to Mr. Onkst.

        The new building will have a separate children's department, a computer lab, a reference department and a meeting room that will hold up to 250 people, Ms. Klaene said. It also will feature study rooms, a larger audiovisual department, a reading garden and a drive-through window for readers to pick up books on reserve.

        Quantum Construction of Cincinnati will begin building the library this month.


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