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ACPL hears concerns over potential loss of local branches

Susan Baier ACPL
Allen County Public Library executive director Susan Baier addresses the board of trustees with survey respondents' comments on the library facilities master plan on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

The Allen County Public Library held a special board meeting Wednesday to discuss public response to the proposed facilities master plan, which includes closing some neighborhood branches.

The board presented the proposed plan to the public at a meeting in January and created a survey to receive comments from library users. At the meeting on Wednesday, ACPL Executive Director Susan Baier read several comments for each branch.

The board also heard public comment Wednesday. Several people at the meeting and on the survey expressed concerns about losing certain branches.

Shawn Smith spoke at the meeting on behalf of the Georgetown branch, which could either be renovated or sold, depending on which version of the plan is chosen.

“You know, it’s a 20 minute walk for us there," he said. "Plus, there’s several schools within walking distance. And I think it’s fairly modern, maybe it could just be simply remodeled.”

There was also concern over the Shawnee library, which would be closed in either version of the plan. Option A would expand the Hessen Cassel and Waynedale branches to compensate for the loss. Option B would build a new branch to replace Shawnee.

Other branches with options to close and replace them are Aboite, Dupont and Hessen Cassel.

The next board meeting to discuss the plan will be April 7.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.