JACKSON TWP. The Jackson Township Branch of the Stark County Library has moved into its new digs as of Aug. 1. The library will temporarily be located in a one of the retail spaces in the MarketPlace in Nobles Pond for the next two years.
The last day of service for the Fulton Road building was July 30. The new location is less than a half-mile from the old library - next to the 3 Brothers restaurant at the west end of the plaza. Patrons are welcomed to use the new location while a new facility is being designed and built.
Director of Communications Josh Harris said the new location will serve as a temporary home of the branch as well as a Smart Store incubator.
"We will be test piloting a number of new technologies, features and services the library plans to introduce in all of the branch locations in the near future," Harris said. "One of the innovative, user-friendly additions at the temporary location is the 24/7 lobby. We have a DVD rental machine and a book rental machine that patrons can rent from using their library card. The boxes look much like vending machines. There will also be a group of lockers that patrons can pick up items they have reserved. They open the locker using their library card."
There will be 750 DVDs in one box and close to 250 books in the other rental box. Harris said it operates just like a Red Box rental box except, "our box is blue and the rentals are free."
The temporary location is 3,200 square feet compared to the 15,000 square feet in the old location. Harris said all of the tables, chairs and desks are moveable so that staff can move the area around to accommodate events and programming.
Harris said the Jackson Township Branch is one of the busiest branches with 137,000 patron visits last year and 266,473 items circulated. He said the branch is partnering with the YMCA, Buehler’s and the high school for meeting space for its patrons.
"The meeting spaces at the Jackson Township Branch are highly popular and we want to accommodate those who have been using the spaces by partnering with others in the area to provide the space needed," Harris said. "We think of it as a library without walls because we could have a book club meeting at Buehler’s or teens meeting at the David YMCA."
The new space houses 12,000 books, DVDs, CDs and other items. There are several desktop computers for people to use. And, there is a laptop rental machine where patrons can use their library card to rent a laptop for use in the library.
"We have a great new laptop bar where people can bring their own laptops or other mobile devices and hook up or rent one of our laptops to use," Harris said. "Since we have a limited amount of desktop computers at this location, we thought the laptops would work to provide more access to technology."
There are numerous large screen digital televisions that will be used as signage to raise awareness of all of the services the library offers such as wireless hot spots and wireless printing.
"We rolled out the Smart Store branding over a year ago," Harris said. "It’s meant to let patrons know we have expanded our services beyond the movie and book rentals to include classes, educational programming and the various technology services we offer."
The new location will be staffed with some full-time people from the old building. Some of the staff from the building will be splitting their hours between the new location and other branches. Other staff members will be working full-time at different branches until the new building is finished.
The temporary location is designed in a modern urban style with lots of bright lights and colors. The walls are lined with books, DVDs and CDs. The location is bursting with new technologies providing convenience for patrons.
"We think this new interim home will give patrons a taste of the future of the Jackson Branch and all of our libraries," Harris said.