North-East library would see improvements if levy passes

Originally published October 4, 2018
Paul Thompson
Northeast News

If a November 6, 2018 ballot item to approve an eight-cent property tax levy increase for the library is approved by voters, the North-East branch would be first in line for renovations. Kansas City Public Library Executive Director Crosby Kemper III told the Northeast News in August that the library could receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.75 million.

Kemper added that those upgrades could include new shelving, parking lot and bathroom improvements, new study rooms and upgraded technology including new computers, electronic whiteboards and larger screens in study rooms. That said, the library is still eager for feedback from those who use the library most.

Library designer Matt Glawatz, the leader architect with The Clark Enersen Partners, led a visioning session at the North-East Branch Library on October 3. Despite a smaller-than-expected crowd, Glawatz said afterwards that he was happy with the feedback provided.

“We’ve heard a lot about the need for more meeting rooms, more educational opportunities within the community,” Glawatz said. “We want to explore the need for more robust teen areas, and areas for children, areas for family, and areas for people to come and search for a job.”

From here, Glawatz and his team will begin work with the library to establish a schedule moving forward. In the meantime, he’ll be brainstorming the needs that were brought forward during the visioning session.

“Certainly the ideas that were expressed to us, and the types of spaces are not outside the realm of possibility for this project,” Glawatz said. “Our job now is to figure out, with those needs that were expressed, how can we be creative about solving those needs within the confines of a budget?

Traditionally, the public library is viewed as a place where people can go to check out books, but Crosby Kemper notes: “We’re still the place a child can come and enjoy the delight of reading, but just as importantly, we’re the future of Kansas City’s economy in terms of human capital.”

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