Lincoln Twp. library ponders new floor plan

The Lincoln Township Public Library is pictured in Stevensville. The library is looking for input regarding what changes to make so the building is more accomodating to users. 

STEVENSVILLE — The Lincoln Township Public Library is in the process of changing.

As part of its five-year strategic plan, the library’s board hired an Ann Arbor architectural firm – that specializes in libraries – to evaluate the building’s existing space.

Library Director Jessica Ishmael said the staff had concerns with sound issues throughout the building and desires a more cohesive flow.

“We want to be sure that what we make available to patrons is meeting their needs,” Ishmael said. “It’s something we’ve been realizing over time. It’s a common practice to review our library every 20 years to make sure it is being used well.”

The library hired Daniels and Zermack Architects in May and are now in the information-gathering process.

In addition to getting the region’s population size, the library’s circulation and the size of the library, the firm is breaking down how the space is used.

Ishmael said the library has held a formal focus group meeting with staff and the Friends of the Library group.

However, now the library is reaching out to the community for feedback.

Ishmael said they will hold an hour-long “visioning session.”

It would involve looking through 100 slides and photographs of other libraries that are more up-to-date, with regard to use of space. Ishmael said the session is meant to gather ideas of what the library could be.

The visioning session will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 in the library’s community room following its library board meeting.

Ishmael said all local members of the community are welcome to provide input.

“If somebody is not a library user, this a chance to get their input on what would get them to be a user,” Ishmael said. “Based on all that information, they’ll come back with two or three rough design proposals that will be presented to the library’s board.”

Jennifer Cowan, a trustee with the library board and member of the facilities subcommittee, said there are some things that can be done to make the library a more welcoming place.

That might include taking a look at the library’s community room and making shelving more accessible.

“I have seen the need for growth,” Cowan said. “We’re not looking to make outrageous changes. I feel like we’re at a point again where we could use some more space to accommodate the programs that we run.”

Ishmael said the plan is to use as much of the existing footprint of the library without extending the building.

However, if the firm shows a viable reason for expanding, Ishmael said they would consider that option.

“Our priority is to be responsible with what we have first. We’re fortunate to have a very forward-thinking board to see what else we can do,” Ishmael said. “From school to your home, we want the library to be that third space that you’re comfortable being a part of.”

This story has been corrected to reflect that the library hired the architectural firm in May.

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