Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2007, 2:08 pm
At its board meeting scheduled for July 17 at 7 pm at the Old Worthington Library, 820 High Street, the Worthington Libraries Board of Trustees will consider appropriation of funds necessary to open a storefront library to serve patrons in the northeast part of its service district.
The proposed Worthington Park Library would occupy 5,280 square feet of space in the Worthington Park shopping center, near a grocery store and within walking distance of Worthington Park Elementary School. Worthington Libraries is negotiating a fiveyear lease on the property.
Funding for the Worthington Park Library project is available due to a change in state funding. Under the new state budget, public libraries will receive 2.22% of the state's General Revenue Fund tax receipts, instead of 5.7% of the state income tax. This represents a slight annual increase, after funding was frozen for several years. This will generate enough additional revenue for Worthington Libraries to open and operate the storefront library without significantly impacting the life of its current levies.
The onetime startup cost for this new facility would be $608,684, with a projected 2008 operating budget of $566,888, including the cost of leasing the space.
Worthington Libraries Director Meribah Mansfield states, "Although funding does not permit us to build a freestanding library, we're confident that we can provide quality services and programs from a storefront facility. This meets the service goals of the 2005-2008 Strategic Plan, while keeping the promise made to voters during the 2005 levy campaign to maintain a positive fund balance through 2018."
Worthington Libraries Board President Martin Jenkins says, "The state's policy decision to support the operation and expansion of library services in Ohio permits us to take this step to fulfill a commitment we made to the community."
The proposed Worthington Park Library would offer a popular reading library of bestselling fiction and nonfiction, a large children's collection and several computers for public use, providing Internet access, children's computer programs and Microsoft Office software. This branch would function as a third location for Worthington Libraries and would appear in Discovery Place as a location for pickup and dropoff of patron reserves, providing patrons with access to over 3.6 million items.
The Worthington Park Library would be fully staffed and open 70 hours per week, duplicating the schedule at Old Worthington Library and Northwest Library. Programming at this library would be focused on meeting the needs of the many children and families in the area. To that end, the Library is planning to establish a Homework Help Center at the Worthington Park location.
One of the initiatives in the Library's 2005-2008 Strategic Plan, the Homework Help Center would provide students with access to people who can help them with their homework, both library staff and volunteer tutors, as well as reference tools and technology.
Because it would be unique to the Worthington Libraries system, the Homework Help Center would be utilized both by students who live in the northeast area and throughout the school district. Located in a designated area of the library, the center would have no less than five computers dedicated to student use from 3-6pm on Monday-Thursday (computers could be used by other library patrons when the Homework Help Center is closed).
At this time, the Worthington Libraries Board of Trustees is not considering selling the land it owns on Sancus Blvd. After the Worthington Park Library is open, outreach programming at the Lazelle Woods Recreation Center, where the Library has presented storytimes and computer training since January 2006, will be analyzed to determine if there is an ongoing need.