Westover to expand library

By AMY GORDON / Staff Writer

Westover plans to begin its library expansion next week, said Mayor Mark McLaughlin.

The expansion should add approximately 250 square feet of space to the library, located inside Westover’s town hall. That space will be used to add a children’s area and more bookshelf space, McLaughlin said. The roof will also be extended and an extra air conditioning unit added.

“We have been planning the library expansion for the last two years,” he said. “We’re out of space in the library and in the town hall. We’re making big use out of the little space we have.”

The library also doubles as a conference room, with a large conference table that takes up much of the available space right now.

The library will be shut down for approximately the next five weeks, McLaughlin said. Currently, everything in the library is being put into storage to prepare for the building.

The total cost of the expansion should be between $35,000 and $40,000, McLaughlin said. Of that cost, $10,000 will come from a grant from Shelby County, and the rest will come from Westover’s general fund.

The library’s expansion will help increase circulation and provide more service, McLaughlin said. The library helps provide a focus point for the town, he said.

“In a long time, we have not had a town center. The library and the park behind it have become the town center,” McLaughlin said. “Now you can be up here and come across a neighbor. That’s good stuff.”

The next step in the library’s evolution is to build from the back of the town hall for even more expansion space, McLaughlin said. That’s still a while away, he said.

“Eventually, it’s going to be a stand-alone facility, probably at least five years from now,” he said. “The library is an important part of the community. Even in the days of the Internet, the Internet did not replace that.”

The library’s growth directly corresponds with the community’s growth, the mayor said.

“Right now, our thought is that we’ve known growth was coming for a long time, we’ve been saying it’s coming for a long time, and now we’re seeing it,” he said.