The San Angelo Area Foundation is the fiscal sponsor for special project funds that operate under its auspices. The most recent special project is raising funds to remodel the North Angelo Library Branch. Click here to make a donation to the North Angelo Library Project
Since opening its doors in July of 1975, the North Angelo Branch of the Tom Green County Library System has seen little to no building upgrades. At just under 3000 square feet, the library has long been ineffective in providing adequate services to the community. Significant technological innovations have emerged in the past 46 years. Computers are as commonplace as books, yet the library has not evolved its space to accommodate these major advances. The number of staff has increased, but there is no office space. Public restrooms aren’t ADA compliant. The time has come to update and expand the library.
The idea of relocating the branch to a larger building or new construction altogether was considered, but public opinion and community input indicated a strong desire to keep the branch in its current location. Situated on a busy street with heavy foot traffic and in close proximity to a bus stop, the library is perfectly positioned to conveniently serve North San Angelo residents. The library once shared the entire building with various county departments. When Crisis Intervention vacated the building in 2018, the opportunity for expansion presented itself.
In its current state, there is no separation of space which prevents dedicated forms of user engagement. Adults working on public Internet computers are stationed just feet away from lively children discovering new books. Story time is mandatory, as there is no way to circumvent animated programming taking place in the children’s area. A child’s enjoyment of the library is greatly diminished given the cramped layout. Creating desirable and comfortable spaces designed for specific activities is the primary goal of the expansion.
KFW Architects have finalized the master plan and construction documents are in the works. Once the cinderblock wall dividing the two spaces comes down, North Branch will gain 1200 square feet. The library will maintain its intimate feel while addressing critical needs. A new roof is not only necessary for structural integrity, it will allow for exposed ceilings, imparting more volume and spaciousness. Staff will be given a proper office to allow for back of house work. A dual service desk offering both circulation and reference assistance will be created. Bathrooms will be brought up to code. Estimated cost for this project is just over one million dollars, and the library is able to contribute existing donation funds to kick off the fundraising campaign. We are relying on community support to complete this long overdue project. It’s time to restore North Branch Library’s legacy to uplift the individuals it serves.
Upon construction, one side of the building will occupy a dedicated technology area and multiuse room for computer classes, group meeting and trainings. This area will cultivate focused research, study and productivity. An upgraded public Internet area and the addition of a versatile meeting room will provide simple yet necessary enhancements to the library. The addition of a dedicated research area means reimagining the Children’s Department. While the library will be open concept, space planning and design details will be unique as to define age and activity. The children’s area will be bright and airy, designed to stimulate creativity and provoke discovery.
North Branch Library is long overdue for improvements. This library sees more in-need individuals who are without home amenities like computers and Internet. Many are lacking in basic computer skills and will greatly benefit from a modest yet well-appointed neighborhood library offering essential resources and services. This renovation will allow Tom Green County Libraries to do even more for the community and fulfill its mission to provide necessary tools to enable residents to achieve personal enrichment.