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Thousand Oaks Library Addition Plan Advances

Services: City Council approves the blueprint for a 20,000-square-foot expansion. About half of the $10.5-million wing will be for children.

January 24, 2002|JENIFER RAGLAND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Plans for a new children's section and much needed extra seating at Thousand Oaks' main library moved forward this week, with conceptual approval of a 20,000-square-foot expansion for the Janss Road facility.

About half of the new wing will be dedicated to children's services, which library officials hope will include a permanent story time area.

More than 2,000 people use the library each day, and 45% of the book circulation is in the children's collection, said Stephen Brogden, library services director.

The current 3,000-square-foot children's area has been in need of expansion for more than a decade, Brogden said, but the project was delayed in 1991 when the Newbury Park branch library opened and again in 1994 after the Northridge earthquake.

Tuesday night, Brogden presented the City Council with two expansion options--one adding 20,000 square feet to the south side of the library, and the other adding the same amount of space to the north side.

Council members voted unanimously to support the south-side addition, partly because the other option would have required reconfiguring the library's main entrance, officials said.

The option chosen will be less disruptive for patrons during construction, fits better with the library and a nearby teen center and is more likely to stay within the $10.5-million budget, Councilman Andy Fox said.

The main disadvantage to the south-side expansion is that patrons will have to walk farther from the main entrance to the new children's section. It also may require the library to staff an extra help desk.

"Both have their pluses and minuses," Brogden said. "I just feel we're very lucky to be able to add 20,000 square feet. It's an example of how this community supports its library."

The move should also resolve the noise problems that now occur with the children's area being situated next to the reference section.

"We don't want the children to stop making noise," Brogden said. "We want to give them their own space to make the noise in."

The addition's other 10,000 square feet will house staff desks that will create more seating space on the library floor, Brogden said. Several seating areas had to be removed in the mid-1990s to make room for bookshelves, he said.

The council has set aside $6.5 million in capital improvement funds to fund the project. The other $4 million will come from bonds the city renewed in December.

Killefer Flammang Purtill Architects will spend the next six to nine months drafting plans for the new wing. Construction should take nine months to a year, Brogden said.

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