Study session finds RPL needs more space

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(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Public Library building is nearing its 30-year mark.

Over the past three decades, it’s seen some significant growth. Since 1995 the library has seen a 48% increase in its service population- as well as an 89% increase in circulation, surpassing 2 million titles for the first time.

Library Director, Karen Lemke, says it’s a strong testament to their goal to continue to grow and serve the Med City.

“We really just want to be the library that the community wants,” Lemke said. “So the library board is looking for what that direction might need to be.”

While the library prides itself on being a safe space for the community, they are finding it hard to find more space to accommodate more needs of its customers.

During a study session with the Rochester City Council, the library went over how people are using the library, in hopes of giving them a better understanding of how customers are impacted by current space limitations.

“We know that we are capped out on space in what we can offer our community,” Lemke said. “For example, we don’t have as much meeting space available.”

In 2012, the children’s area was redesigned to be a welcoming space for families. They also added the Teen’s Cape and an art room. But the result — less space for staff.

Lemke says the space for families was a worthwhile investment.

The smart play spot gets around 1,100 visitors a month on average. With an additional 600 a month visiting the art room.