By 1812Blockhouse

The Mansfield/Richland County Public Library has announced that its Ontario location is set to undergo a major transformation, bringing a fresh and modern look to the facility while improving its functionality for the community. This extensive renovation project, with a budget of $3.2 million, will include substantial upgrades to the infrastructure and the addition of several new features. During the construction period, the library will temporarily move to Richland Mall, ensuring continuity of services for patrons.

A Modernized Library for the Community

The renovations at the Ontario Branch aim to create a more welcoming and versatile space that accommodates a variety of needs. The updated facility will boast enhanced technology, increased accessibility, and new community spaces for gatherings and events. The design includes dedicated zones for children and teens, providing them with areas to explore, learn, and socialize. Additionally, the renovation will add an outdoor reading area, offering patrons a serene spot to enjoy their books in the open air.

Other notable upgrades include:

  • Interior Design: A new modern interior with bold colors and contemporary furnishings.
  • Floor Plan: An updated layout that includes new community spaces, children’s zones, teen areas, and an outdoor reading space.
  • Infrastructure: Necessary repairs to the building’s HVAC system, lighting, restrooms, entrances/exits, and parking lots to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs.

Temporary Location at Richland Mall

While renovations are underway, the Ontario Branch will operate from a temporary location at the Richland Mall, ensuring library services continue uninterrupted. The temporary space will house the entire library collection, staffed by the same friendly team. Library hours at the Richland Mall are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

For easy access, visitors are encouraged to park on the Stumbo Rd. side at the south entrance. The book drop will be relocated to the southwest entrance to the Richland Mall, allowing patrons to return their items during the two-week closure. Curbside service will also continue at the temporary location, with four marked parking spaces dedicated to this service.

Ongoing Library Programs at the Mall

The Ontario Branch will continue its programming at the Richland Mall, thanks to the mall’s provision of a separate programming room located across from the library’s temporary location. The program schedule includes activities for adults, teens, and children, ensuring that all regular events and workshops remain accessible to the community. Visitors can find information on the library’s monthly publication “At the Library” and on the library’s event calendar for specific program details.

FAQs About the Renovation

To address common questions, the library has provided a list of frequently asked questions. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Why remodel the library? The Ontario Branch requires essential infrastructure repairs and upgrades, including HVAC, lighting, restrooms, entrances/exits, and parking. The renovation also aims to improve technology, accessibility, and community spaces to meet the evolving needs of library users.
  • How was the architect and construction company selected? The library followed the Ohio Revised Code, advertising requests for qualifications. Three design firms and three construction companies were shortlisted and interviewed, with HBM Architects ultimately selected to lead the project.
  • What is the renovation timeline? Construction starts in Spring/Summer 2024 and is expected to last approximately 10-12 months.
  • Where is the funding coming from? The project is funded by the library’s capital reserves, with no additional cost to Richland County taxpayers.
  • Will library services be affected during renovations? Although the Ontario Branch will close for two weeks to relocate to the Richland Mall, all services, including book lending, programs, and curbside service, will continue at the temporary location.

Contact Information and Additional Resources

For further information about the renovations, contact the Ontario Branch at 419.529.4912. Check the library’s event calendar and “At the Library” publication for updates on the program schedule and renovation progress. Additional resources, including floor plans and interior design sketches, are available on the library’s website.

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