Record Breaking Summer Has Madison Public Library Seeking Expansion
Already this year, the Madison Public Library has seen almost as many patrons as in the entirety of 2011. Now, they are bursting at the seams and running out of space.
Branch Manager Sarah Sledge says they have been breaking records all summer. In June they moved 12,000 pieces of media the first week of June, then broke the record again in July, with 15,000.
But the library isn’t only running out of shelf space for media. In the average month 26 thousand patrons visit the library, about 60% of Madison city’s entire population.
“We are short on space for the public to use, short on space for us to work, and short on space to have the programs that the public comes to us specifically for,” said Sledge.
The library hosts 11 programs a week for children, along with book and craft clubs for adults, dance classes, and community meetings – all in one room.
The library was built in 1997, with a scheduled renovation in 2007. Five years later, it’s a problem they can no longer ignore.
“Don’t take the word ‘problem’ the wrong way, it’s a good problem,” said Sledge. “We have a community that is energetic in the use of its library. We just don’t have enough space for the number of people who want to come in.”
Sledge has reached out to Madison Mayor Paul Finley, and have discussed possible solutions to ensure the library’s future success. Together with the city council, they are considering either expanding on the existing library building or building a satellite branch in Madison.