Pearland city leaders examined a streamlined version of a Reid Library expansion Monday night, which took a planned expansion from 11,000 square feet of added space down to only 8,000 square feet.
More than a lack of funds, it is technology that prompts a reduction – laptops instead of yesterday’s bulky PCs, ebooks, self-checkouts and centralized checkouts mean a smaller footprint with the same amount of users.
The library, 3522 Liberty, is a city-county partnership. While the city owns and furnishes the library building, it is staffed with Brazoria County employees.
Its namesake, Mayor Tom Reid, said the library was designed to serve about a smaller population and expand later.
“We recognized at the time that we had to expand it at some point,” he said. “What we’re trying to figure out now is how do we expand it now with the money we have today?”
The library expansion is estimated to cost about $3.5 million.
Built in 1999, the Reid library houses much of the city’s collection that holds historical value, city officials said, while the library on the west side circulates a large amount of new material.
But what is the best use of library space for the dollar? Councilman Keith Ordeneaux asked.
“What I see libraries going to is a gathering space, a community space – if that stacks space can be stored somewhere else, those books are still there and available, but we’re giving the community a space they can use,” he said.
What is definite, Reid said, is that Pearland’s original library is under-footage, and adding the space is necessary.
“If we don’t build out and anticipate the population we need to serve who is using the library, we’re always going to be overcrowded, regardless of how we use the space,” he said.
Design of the expansion is expected to take six months, and construction could begin in early 2016, city staff said.