Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

With Its New Digs and More Books, Main Library Is Now a Destination; Attendance at the New Laura Street Location Has Increased 64 Percent from a Year Ago

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

With Its New Digs and More Books, Main Library Is Now a Destination; Attendance at the New Laura Street Location Has Increased 64 Percent from a Year Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY KELLI PALKA

Since Jacksonville's new Main Library opened in November, it has become more than a mecca for bookworms.

It has become a destination.

The visitor count to the five-story building on Laura Street is up 64 percent in the first six months compared with the same time period a year ago -- when downtown's Main Library was a dingy building on Ocean Street. The number of materials checked out in the first six months since the library has opened is up 168 percent over the same time last year.

It's not just readers doing the visiting. Families are taking in story times, businesspeople are holding meetings and teenagers are hanging out with friends.

Jackie Moore, 14, and her 12-year-old brother Michael Mitchell come to the library about once a week. It's where they play checkers or virtual games on the computers and do research for class projects.

The Kirby-Smith Middle School students said they prefer the new library to the old one. Moore likes that the teen section that is separate from the rest of the building. For Mitchell, it's all about the additional computers and what seems like more books on the shelves.

He's right. There are $5 million of new materials in the 300,000-square-foot building, which features high ceilings and eye-catching lighting and artwork.

Residents and visitors pay for the $101 million library through a half-penny sales tax as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan. And residents and visitors are both getting use of the building. It's becoming the place to take out-of-town visitors, said Gretchen Mitchell, administrative supervisor for the Main Library.

Dieula Exantus, 46, knew where she wanted to take her four nieces and nephews when they came to town about a week ago. She said when they walked in the front door of the building, the children just said, "Wow. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.