. - Big changes are coming to the Main Library of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, about $8.6 million worth. But those improvements are coming with a closure of the branch.
Toledo's Main Library Downtown will be closed for a period of about 10-12 months. By closing the library during construction, crews reduce safety concerns, cost and the length of the project.
Library leaders now with the closure ahead of them are actively working to figure out how to address the needs of those wanting to use their resources.
From after school care, to free internet access and even a place to avoid the elements outside, the Main Library is important to so many.
"I love the library," said Todd Thornton, who recently moved to Toledo. "I spend a significant amount of time here and whatever they are going to do with it, it's alright with me."
The main branch's $8.6 million renovation won't get underway until after Labor Day, but already some are preparing for the changes.
"I'm excited about it," explained Brenda Childress, a local grandmother bringing her loved one to the library to explore. "I'm ready to see how everything is put together."
"I was really kind of surprised that they are coming up with a renovation because they already had this great big addition," said Anita Witt. "I'm concerned about the period that it's going to be shut down."
The library is still working on the design and final details for the renovation. So far, they plan to expand the technology resources, increase multi-function meeting rooms, and relocate the café, gallery and gift shop.
The library also said they plan to create innovative spaces to pursue cultural, educational and economic development as a part of their renovation.
While the main branch will be closed during construction, library leaders said they are considering every one of their customers from the homeless to the children during this time and are trying to plan ahead.
"No doubt we are sad not to have this place available, but it really will be worth the wait," explained Meg Delaney, Main Library manager for the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. "I think that we're going to take a lot of our programs and services out to the branches."
Leaders are exploring several options during the transition like transportation and hour expansions to their other branches.
They also are starting conversations with community partners like the county commissioners, Cherry Street Mission, and others. They want to hear how they can accommodate everyone during construction.
"I really think that the answers are out there," explained Delaney. "I think that we can come up with some really great creative solutions here in the downtown and at some of our inter-city branches."
Dan Rogers, CEO, of Cherry Street Mission says they are excited about this opportunity to see how they can better serve those in need who use the library for shelter.
He said their Life Revitalization Center, which is just a few blocks away from the Main Library, is open and equipped to help those in need while the library is being remodeled and far beyond then too.
The Toledo Lucas County Public Library is planning community input meetings in the future to hear from the community how they can provide their Main Library resources throughout the closure for construction.
Anyone with an input and would to share it, is encouraged to make their thoughts known here.