By: Jill Fox
Residents got a sneak peek at what the new children’s wing of the City of Parkland Library has to offer.
The library’s expansion, which began in 2018, is just a few months shy of completion, and this week’s soft opening gave some insight into what’s to come in 2020.
Library Director Joe Green said a 2014 community survey showed that Parkland residents wanted more services for children.
“That was the number one answer, followed by a quieter space and additional parking,” he said
The parking lot is now finished, and the new 7,000 square foot “just for kids” addition is almost nearly there.
Upon entering the bright new lobby, children see comfy chairs to relax with a good book. Then, they are greeted by a bookcase, currently housing a collection of Halloween books materials for young readers, which will change with each season.
Chapter books for third to sixth graders line the shelves on the right, followed by nonfiction books organized by their call numbers. There’s a section of book kits with corresponding CDs, and easy readers and picture books on the far left.
There’s even a patio for reading or having a snack.
An adjacent meeting room is a placeholder for some young adult books, along with bestsellers and some popular adult books. The rest are in storage until January, but Green says if there is something you’re looking for, the librarians will dig it out.
“It may take a few days, but we’ll find it for you,” he said.
Presently, the new wing is open for library operations only. Outside groups will have to wait until January to utilize the new meeting rooms. When the renovation is complete, there will be more furniture, a new checkout desk, two meeting rooms, and twice as many computers.
Green, who has been the director for six years, spearheaded the library expansion because of the significant growth in the Parkland population.
First opening in 1988 at a concession stand, the library moved to its current location near city hall in 2003 after being housed for years in a donated double-wide trailer, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Green said when the library opened in 2003, Parkland had 10,000 residents. Now, with over 33,000, they needed more room.
“Joe was instrumental in doing the research, speaking with the city commissioners and getting the expansion moved forward,” said Friends of the Library President, Kathy Kestler.
Although an exact opening date has yet to be announced, at a recent commission meeting, Vice Mayor Ken Cutler said the grand opening should be used as an opportunity to celebrate something great for the residents for years and years to come.
Renovation of the old building has already begun and is expected to be completed in early 2020. Through the completion of the expansion, the library is unable to accept book donations.