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New and expanded libraries headed to Austin

Austin Public Library’s recently approved long-term plan calls for four new libraries.

The central atrium of the Central Library downtown, with a view of the staircase and several floors. To the left hangs a large red sculpture modeled after a cuckoo clock.

Austin Public Library’s Central branch is noted as a “model” for new and expanding libraries.

Photo by ATXtoday

Good news, bookwormsAustin Public Library may soon open four more branches.

Last week, The Austin City Council approved the Austin Public Library Comprehensive Library Strategic and Facilities Plan. The 118-page document — which took a year to put together — outlines long-term and short-term goals for the system. Here’s what you need to know.

Need for expansion

In case you hadn’t heard, Austin’s population is growing — a lot. City officials predict the population could increase by 25% in the next two decades, and that means many more residents will be looking for free books and services.

“APL’s branches do not provide enough space to meet community needs now and into the future,” the plan reads. “Over the next 10-15 years, Austin will need more than twice as much branch space as APL’s current branches provide.”

ATX_LibraryPlan

The Austin Public Library Comprehensive Library Strategic and Facilities Plan calls for expanding or replacing more than half of the system’s existing libraries.

Graphic via Austin Public Library Comprehensive Library Strategic and Facilities Plan

Building new libraries

The city plans to add four new branches in each “quadrant” of the city to serve populations without close access to an existing library. These new locations, which could be new construction or adapted from existing buildings, include:

  • New Far Northeast/Colony Park, near Ribelin Ranch
  • New Far Northwest Branch, near Jourdan Crossing
  • New Far Southeast Branch, near Pilot Knob
  • New Far Southwest Branch, near Menchaca Road and Davis Lane

Expanding existing libraries

The plan also calls for expanding existing libraries — targeting ~30,000 sqft per branch — to meet APL’s goal of having 0.3-0.4 sqft of library space per capita.

According to the plan, that would require expanding or relocating more than half of Austin’s existing libraries. The downtown Central Library is noted in the document as a “model” for the vision of these updated and new branches.

Further details about these efforts are not yet available, but you can learn more on Austin Public Library’s website.