Letter from the Director: Multiple Facility Improvement Projects Underway Across the County

As we pass the mid-point in year two of our 10-year facilities project that is bringing improvements to all 41 locations, I wanted to pause and share what we’ve been able to accomplish across Hamilton County so far this year.

Anderson Branch Refresh: Last month the Anderson Township Branch re-opened with an expanded children’s area, two small study rooms, a quiet reading room funded by the Anderson Township Library Association, and new paint, carpet, and furniture. Read the details in this blog post.

Downtown Main Library: Work began in July to replace the elevators and atrium skylight in the South Building, as they have reached the end of their lifespan. Schematic designs are in development this summer to bring improvements to the first floor of the buildings as well as the Vine St. entrance and plazas in front of the North and South buildings. Visit our website for project updates.

Deer Park Branch: Early in 2021, the finalized design for the expanded branch was publicly shared via a virtual presentation. Project updates and a gallery of photos are on our website. We hope to open the new space in late October.

Drive-thrus at the Delhi and Symmes branches: Due to the increased demand for drive-thru service during the pandemic, CHPL added drive-thru windows to the Delhi and Symmes branches this spring, which are open seven days a week. This brings the total number of locations with drive-thrus up to eight.

Madisonville Branch: Architects are now in the schematic design phase for this location. The branch is moving across the street to a new building at the corner of Madison Road and Whetzel Avenue. To get feedback to inform the design, multiple community forums have been held, the most recent one in May. Project updates are on our website.

Mariemont Branch: CHPL has been the fortunate beneficiary of a donation for the Mariemont Branch. The Library is finalizing the design to put a glass roof over the exterior courtyard and include an accessibility ramp to expand the use of this space. Work is expected to be completed at the end of 2021.

Price Hill Branch: In April we re-opened the renovated and expanded branch, which is fully accessible and has designated spaces for all ages as well as multiple study and meeting rooms. Watch this brief video to get a peek.

Walnut Hills Branch: In January, CHPL broke ground on what is to become a fully accessible, renovated, and expanded branch. Project updates and a gallery of photos are on our website.

Community Engagement & Resources: The Facility Master Plan, published in January 2020, provides a road map to guide us as we work to bring improvements to all your library locations. Earlier this year the plan was updated to reflect some changes brought on by opportunities and challenges. To help community members unpack the plan and learn about what it means for their part of the county, we created five informational videos, one for each Planning Zone. In addition to these, we also held community forums to help inform the design process for the portions of the Downtown Main Library that are being renovated, and for the Madisonville Branch Accessibility Project.

Staffing Enhancements: As we bring improvements to our spaces, we also are taking care to invest in staff and ensure that community members are being well-served not just by providing welcoming spaces, but also by providing friendly, knowledgeable staff who can offer assistance, spark curiosity, and make learning fun.

We have significantly increased the number of staff at our Price Hill Branch and are doing the same for our Deer Park Branch. In addition, all locations now have a minimum of six full-time staff. We have added Library Specialist, Monitor Mentor, and Branch Team Lead positions to many of our locations, and we are currently hiring Homework Help and Enrichment Assistants and evolving these positions into a year-round role. Open positions are on our website.

Also, we are currently conducting a compensation review to make sure our staff is appropriately compensated compared to similar organizations.

We are so appreciative of the 1 mil levy that voters passed in 2018, which is funding much of the facilities work, and we look forward to bringing even more improvements to fruition over the next several years so that everyone in the community can learn, create, collaborate, or just have some fun at their local library.

Read more blog posts from Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Library Director Paula Brehm-Heeger.

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