Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Small Library Has Big Reach

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Small Library Has Big Reach

Article excerpt

GULF GATE: Expansion planned for branch that has highest circulationSARASOTAOf all the libraries in Sarasota County, it is not the grand downtown Selby Library that has the most items checked out every year. While Selby sees more foot traffic than any of the branches, it is little old Gulf Gate Library that tops them all when it comes to the circulation of books, DVDs, CDs and more.In the 2010- 2011 fiscal year, 627,722 items passed through the doors of the Curtiss Avenue location. About 15,000 people attended library programs at Gulf Gate, while countless others used the library for voting, AARP tax help, public meetings and a chance to look for the newest best sellers or some old favorites lining the shelves."It started as a neighborhood library, but it's acting like a regional library," says Libraries General Manager Sarabeth Kalajian.For that reason, a bigger Gulf Gate Library is on the drawing board. A $7.5 million construction project is planned, including the replacement of the library building itself with a two-story facility on the same property.But the design of that building and the services the new Gulf Gate Library will offer are still in the working stages, and Sarasota County wants to hear from the community about what the busy "neighborhood library" should look like.An open house meeting is scheduled for Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 Beneva Road, Sarasota. Kalajian and other members of the library staff will be there, along with representatives from the project's architects, Harvard Jolly Architecture. Library patrons are encouraged to stop by and ask questions, share opinions and learn more about the project.Kalajian said she did not want a set agenda because a variety of people, including working people, retirees and families have an interest and may not be able to attend at the same time. Architectural illustrations will be displayed and library officials will be on hand to take suggestions. …

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