By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester welcomes the arrival of an express branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library this month.
According to Columbus Metropolitan Library spokesman Ben Zenitsky, the new express library branch, which opens on Jan. 25, will be located in rear portion of the former school at 100 Washington St. in Canal Winchester. The library branch’s official address is 115 Franklin St., Canal Winchester.
“We’ll have signage, but it’s still a little tricky. The parking lot and entrance will both be in the rear of the building, accessible by Clinton Street,” said Zenitsky. “The branch will be open Monday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
The Canal Winchester Board of Education approved leasing 5,400 square feet of space for the express branch to the Columbus Metropolitan Library for $1 a year for five years, plus the cost of utilities and usage.
Zenitsky said the Canal Winchester branch will offer a Homework Help Center, which provides free after-school homework help from 3:30-6:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 3-6 p.m. on Friday for students in kindergarten through grade 12. There will be a children’s area and programs and services to help families prepare children for kindergarten. The branch will also have a collection of books, magazines, and newspapers as well as public computers and free Wifi. Printers and photocopiers will be available for use at cost.
“If you’ve stopped in to any of our library locations during the after-school hours, then you’ve likely seen how busy our Homework Help Centers can be,” Zenitsky said. “These are dedicated spaces in each location where K-12 students can get homework help from staff members and community volunteers. The relationships made between the students and the adults are truly impactful, and we are eager to forge new ones in Canal Winchester.”
Library customers will notice a difference in size between a traditional branch and the express concept in Canal Winchester. It is smaller and not a stand-alone structure.
“The Canal Winchester Branch will not have meeting rooms, scheduled storytimes or an audio-visual collection,” Zenitsky said. “However, customers can still reserve audio-visual items—CDs and DVDs—to the branch and pick them up there. We opened our Marion-Franklin Branch in September 2014. It became our 22nd location and our first ‘express’ branch. When Canal Winchester opens this month, it will become our 23rd location.”
Canal Winchester Mayor Mike Ebert said since the new branch is within easy walking or biking distance for nearly everyone within the city, he feels it will be an asset to the community.
Canal Winchester City Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon called it a great addition to the community as well as providing a new use for the old high school.
“This will not only help students in their studies but also nurture a lifelong appreciation of reading,” said Mershon.
Former Destination: Canal Winchester director and newly-elected city councilman Bruce Jarvis added, “Library access and services were a big part of the developmental years for most of us and we really should take pride in obtaining a local library.
Jarvis said the branch will compliment traditional libraries like Wagnalls Memorial in Lithopolis and the Columbus Metropolitan Library Southeast Branch on Hamilton Road, but be within walking distance for a large portion of Canal Winchester residents. He said the addition of a library also breathes new life into the school district’s old school building.
A free public dedication ceremony will be held on Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. with an open house at 3:30 p.m. After the ceremony, customers can experience the new branch and enjoy refreshments.
“At CML, we like to say that your library card is the most valuable card in your wallet. If you don’t have one, it’s free to sign up. But what a lot of people might not know is that our customers have access to more materials than ever before,” Zenitsky said. “We’re partnered with 13 other library systems in central Ohio— including Wagnalls Memorial—and share catalogs, so customers can check out materials from all 14 partner libraries.”