Community leaders break ground on library expansion

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Community leaders break ground on library expansion

City officials break ground on the public library Oct. 3.

City officials break ground on the public library Oct. 3.

Chase Rogers

City officials break ground on the public library Oct. 3.

Chase Rogers

Chase Rogers

City officials break ground on the public library Oct. 3.

Chase Rogers, News Reporter

Mayor Jane Hughson, Texas Rep. Erin Zwiener and city staff broke ground Oct. 3 on the expansion of the San Marcos Public Library. A $14.5 million bond was passed May 2017 to fund the expansion.

Projected to finish early 2021, the expansion will add 28,000-square feet to the current 27,000-square foot facility, incorporate a teen room, technology hub, children’s area, study rooms, conference rooms and a meeting room seating up to 240 people.

The initial project proposal was centered on research done by the Pew Research Center late 2012, finding 91% of Americans 16 years of age or older felt public libraries are important to their communities and 76% of people said the public library was important to them and their families.

The project, expected to cost $14,558,770, will include various amenities the community has requested through open meetings, including a book check-in drive through, up-to-date technology, space for local historical collections and meeting space for city groups and organizations.

The bond, put up to a vote May 2017, passed with 78% approval. Library Director Diane Insley said she is grateful the community voted to invest in the new facilities and is excited to properly utilize the space.

“I would like to thank the San Marcos citizens that voted to expand and remodel this important San Marcos resource,” Insley said. “Since about 1,500 people visit the library daily, it is important our design and programming reflects a sense of community. The goal with the expansion is to deliver a contemporary space that continues to meet the needs of our current library patrons while accommodating our growing population.”

Zwiener said the importance of public libraries is not limited to education. The San Marcos community knows this, seen by their vote to expand the facilities.

“I am so grateful the City of San Marcos has voted in invest in expanding this resource for the community,” Zwiener said. “I’ve used libraries to search for jobs and places to live; these are critical resources for our communities.”

The congresswomen said these facilities will be outfitted with technology and learning methods fit for our current times, noting information is not limited to physical books anymore.

“As I have grown up, we have seen how we engage with the written word change; it is not always between the covers of a book,” Zwiener said. “A lot of times it is through technology and engagement. This expansion will allow this community to access technological resources, to become familiar with those resources so that they can be more successful in education and work situations.”

Mayor Jane Hughson said the investment in education is a proud trend fundamental to San Marcos’ history. She is proud to see this trend to continue with the beginning of the project.

“Since 1918, our community has invested in the light of the future by pursuing enrichment through access to literature and educational resources,” Hughson said. “I am grateful to be part of this tradition. I look forward to seeing you all here again for our library ribbon-cutting in spring 2021.”

The complete master-plan of the project and floor plans are available for public viewing on the City of San Marcos’ website.

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