Tracking Progress: Joplin New Library Update

By Jennifer Penate

Published 07/29 2014 09:16PM

Updated 07/29 2014 10:24PM

JOPLIN, MO.--- A empty lot will be developed into Joplin's new 60,000 square foot library.

"The 20th and Connecticut location is precisely where the Citizens Area Recovery Team, the C.A.R.T. team said we want to see development in Joplin," said Jacque Gage, library director.

"I feel like it's more walking distance for lots more people," said Jerika Lee, library visitor.

Residents we spoke with are excited for what's to come.

"I think it would be great for the community to have access to more books and more resources," said Dusty Neill, library visitor 

There's still a lot of work to do before the plan comes to fruition.

"We're in the process of hiring a project manager. There were proposal submitted to the city and are still under review right now. Then when the project manager is selected, they in turn will be issuing RFQ's, which is request for qualifications for architects and then the real work begins," said Gage. 

Library Director Jacque Gage expects this step to take a couple of months.

"Then given some time for the selection of the architecture, then plans to be drawn and finalized. I'd like to think we'd be able to break ground between six months and eight months," said Gage. 

In the mean time, library staff and patrons are coming up with a list of the new facility's major needs. One is being in compliance with the American Disabilities Act.

"Some of our aisles, a wheelchair can't even begin to go down, and yet we do not have enough physical room to spread the stacks apart. So that can be achieved," said Gage. 

Space is another priority.

"I've noticed with some of the summer programs, they're pretty squeezed in when they have different things with the kids. So I think more space would be beneficial for everyone," said Neill. 

Also, a coffee station, drive through book drop, and a large interactive children's learning center.

"I want to make sure that however we design this building, it is flexible enough that we can change things to meet whatever, the face of a public library in the next 30 years," said Gage. 

The current library building will transfer to the city. According to Joplin's public information officer, it's still unknown what that facility will house.

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