January 17, 1996 in City

By The Books Library’s South Hill Branch To Open In New Facility

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The city opens its new South Hill library Saturday, replacing an old, cramped branch with a spacious, high-tech one.

Librarians on Tuesday night closed the doors on the Manito branch for the last time.

“Our patrons are looking forward to our new building,” said Manager Michael Sierra.

Looking forward hardly covers it.

“This old building is so small,” said 67-year-old Millie Crawford, “the flies wouldn’t go in there in the summer.”

Part of a taxpayer-approved expansion and upgrade, the new branch at 33rd and Perry cost $1.7 million and triples the space of its predecessor, which opened in 1954.

With new shelves comes more books and a new name, to reflect the branch’s wider target area.

“It’s now the South Hill Branch Library,” said Sierra.

By Saturday’s 11 a.m. opening, librarians will have added 15,000 books and tapes to the building’s shelves - new materials held in storage until space was available.

The improvements should draw big crowds, said Aubrey George, the city’s acting library director.

Manito has been the third-busiest city library, after the downtown library and Shadle Park branch. Sierra said the number of items checked out daily is expected to jump from 1,400 to 2,000.

Patrons sandwiched elbow to elbow in the old building will now have three reading areas to sprawl in. One is intended to serve as a teenager-young adult reading and study area.

“We’d get a lot of young students coming in during the school year, and they’d end up all over the (Manito) building” adding to the congestion, Sierra said.

Use by parents with young children also will increase, library staff predicted.

“We check out a lot of children’s books,” Sierra said, adding that the number will grow because the branch library purchased several hundred new titles for toddlers.

The new branch also adds something Manito patrons have long needed - a designated quiet reading area. By design, it’s at the opposite end of the building from the children’s reading section.

Another new feature: a 120-person meeting room, available to any non-profit group in the community. That room is accessible at no cost, provided a meeting is open to the public, Sierra said.

The new building also increases the number of computers for public use from seven to 19. Three of those PCs will be devoted to free Internet access.

Library staff will spend today and Thursday moving the collection to the new building. A reception following the dedication Saturday will include entertainment, refreshments and a lecture by artist Harold Balazs.

Balazs is the creator of a new piece of art placed against the ceiling in the branch’s new children’s section.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Color photos

MEMO: Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. GRAND OPENING The public is invited to the South Hill branch library grand opening, 11 a.m. Saturday. A reception follows a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

2. LIBRARY PROJECTS The new South Hill branch is the third of six projects financed through $28.8 million in library bonds approved by city voters in 1990. Completed: Hillyard branch, January 1994; Main (downtown) library, January 1994; East Side branch, December 1995; South Hill, opens Saturday. Still to go: Shadle Park branch. Groundbreaking in April at new site at northwest corner of Shadle Park. Increases space from 7,100 square feet to more than 18,000.

Two sidebars appeared with the story: 1. GRAND OPENING The public is invited to the South Hill branch library grand opening, 11 a.m. Saturday. A reception follows a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

2. LIBRARY PROJECTS The new South Hill branch is the third of six projects financed through $28.8 million in library bonds approved by city voters in 1990. Completed: Hillyard branch, January 1994; Main (downtown) library, January 1994; East Side branch, December 1995; South Hill, opens Saturday. Still to go: Shadle Park branch. Groundbreaking in April at new site at northwest corner of Shadle Park. Increases space from 7,100 square feet to more than 18,000.


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