New CP library’s business has almost doubled in a year
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent December 3, 2012 9:32PM
People enter the new Crown Point Community Library in downtown Crown Point, Ind. Thursday November 29, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 3, 2012 9:44PM
CROWN POINT — A steady flow of visitors moves in and out of the new $12 million Crown Point Community Library on any given day almost doubling the business the library had for the same time last year.
More than 700 new library cards have been issued since the facility opened Oct. 22, according to Lynn Frank, library director.
“The first couple weeks we just had a phenomenal number of people come,” Franks said.
For the week ending Nov. 12, 2011 2,953 patrons used the former library at 214 S. Court St., and 3,736 materials were checked out. At the new location at 122 N. Main St., 5,841 patrons visited the week ending Nov. 10 and they checked out 6,371 materials. Frank said she expects to see the levels taper off a bit after the newness wears off, but she is encouraged by just how many people are coming through.
Some of the visitors to the new library in its first month were residents who have watched the construction progress over the past year and were curious just what the new three story, 46,750-square-foot building looks like. Many are returning and new patrons.
“We’re seeing new faces, we’re seeing our regulars coming too, interesting to see them come and find a new niche,” Frank said.
Katelyn Doyle of Crown Point was browsing the stacks Thursday afternoon. Doyle has had a library card for years, but admits she didn’t use the other library much now that her children are in high school.
“It was much smaller and honestly, I didn’t really think about it much,” she said.
Now she drives by the new library almost daily, a constant reminder it is there, and was looking for a second book to check out.
“It’s comfortable in here and it really looks great,” she said.
The new library is filled with reading nooks and study areas, an Internet café, teen and children’s areas, computers throughout the building and meeting rooms. This is the first time the library has had meeting rooms and Frank said the community is putting them to use for a wide a variety of reasons, bringing in new visitors to the library almost every day.
“All of the groups coming to use the meeting rooms are new,” Frank said.
In one week alone a private group hosted a shower, Crown Point Fire Rescue conducted training, a local Brownie troop and a spinning group met and a variety of knitting, crocheting and craft groups gathered.
Meeting rooms are available for the community to use and they also provide an opportunity for the library to schedule programming it did not have the space to host at the old building. For example, in January author Gloria McMillian will introduce her new mystery, “The Blue Maroon.”
A larger children’s section has also helped to bring out more participation in that department.
“Our children’s programs have had almost double the number of children over this last month. It’s wonderful,” Frank said. “Before our program room didn’t hold that many people.”
Parking issues getting fixed
With more visitors come more cars and the parking issues the historic downtown can present.
A second parking area at the northwest corner of Robinson Court and East Street is expected to be ready any day. Construction of the lot was delayed as the city and library worked to settle a suit with Austgen Kuiper and Associates disputing the configuration of the lot and its impact on safety to the businesses employees and clients and pedestrians in general.
“We’ve come to an understanding. There is a settlement agreement,” said Adam Sworden, an attorney with Austgen Kuiper who was handling the suit.
As part of the agreement, on-street parking on Robinson Court will be reduced to four spaces from six. The new parking lot will also include a decorative security fence separating it from the Austgen Kuiper property.
Robinson Court will become one-way westbound only.
On East Street city officials recently found the popularity of the new library had an unexpected side effect. Patron vehicles and delivery trucks along East Street in front of the library and across the street from Crown Point Fire Rescue were making it difficult for trucks to quickly exit the fire station, Division Chief of Operations Mark Baumgardner Sr. said
Last week the city’s Board of Works and Public Safety made the stretch of East Street from Robinson Court to just shy of the new municipal lot between the library and city hall a no parking area.
“With the library being so successful, we are having more patrons there than we anticipated,” Baumgardner said.
As far as problems go, the success of the library is the kind the city would like to have.
Mayor David Uran said once the new lot is open the parking situation will improve.
He said the impact the new library and the increased number of visitors has had on the downtown is exactly what officials expected.
“You can see the traffic on N. Main St. Increasing and that will lead to better visibility for the businesses downtown,” Uran said.