• Paula Krapf

Geneva Public Library Board purchases Sixth Street School property

Geneva Public Library District closed on the purchase of the Sixth Street School property located at 210 S. Sixth St. on March 24, 2016. The Board of Trustees had previously voted unanimously to purchase the two-acre parcel for $1,500,000 plus $416,500 to cover the demolition cost for the former Sixth Street School, which was removed last fall.

"Purchasing this land is necessary for ensuring the Library can grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community," said Board President Bob Shiffler.

The purchase is part of a planning process the Board began more than a year ago so the Library can provide better opportunities for the community.

"Our goal is to provide a flexible, accessible, and efficient facility where the community can gather and that will support life-long learning in an ever-changing environment," Shiffler said.

Last spring, the Board began planning for the Library’s future by conducting a communitywide survey, followed by six focus groups with different segments of the community.

Residents’ top concerns include:

• Sufficient on-site parking

• New and expanded services such as collaborative learning spaces, digital media creation, imaginative play space, and more

• More meeting rooms and comfortable places to engage with others

• A library located in downtown Geneva

The Board also hired StudioGC to conduct a Needs Assessment of the existing facility at 127 James St. to analyze demographics, library use, operational costs, patron service models, 21st century library norms, space use, and energy efficiency.

Key findings include:

• Residents need a library for more than books; they come to connect with one another and create in a digital world

• Lack of space in the current facility equals lack of service and amenities

• The current facility is inefficient and expensive to operate

• The current facility cannot be expanded due to zoning and site restrictions

Now that the purchase is complete, the Board will meet with members of the community, local organizations, and government agencies to share their findings. StudioGC will begin a preliminary building program to determine square footage opportunities for expanded library services at the Sixth Street site, and the Board will share information as the facts become available.



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