21 Fall Newsletter

IN THIS ISSUE 2 A Note from the Director 3 150th Anniversary 4-5 West River 6-7 Central 8 Keystone 9 South 10 Outreach 11 Community Events 12 Service Updates 13 EPLS & Keystone Friends www. e lyr i al i brary. org Dear Friends Lyn Crouse The new Elyria Public Library System Central Branch, located at 211 Second Street, is nearing completion. The 22,500 square foot stone structure pays homage to our history while providing 21st Century library technology and conveniences. Despite delays in the construction caused by unexpected site conditions and COVID pandemic supply chain issues, this building, along with the South, Keystone and West River branches, and the EPLS Support Services Facility, finished under the budget established by our $16,500,000 bond issue. For the new Central Library, the final part of the five-building project, EPLS worked collaboratively with the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation (ECIC) and the City of Elyria (City) to locate the building at the eastern gateway to downtown. Adjacent to Pioneer Plaza and the Elyria Arts Council, it will help jumpstart the downtown renaissance by creating a cultural district. Former Mayor Holly Brinda and her team acquired letters of intent for 12 parcels of land to be combined to form one site, which EPLS purchased for $600,000. The ECIC/City prepared the property for EPLS to build, including relocating the tenants and demolishing the existing structures. Demolition of the structures on the site caused extensive damage to the Broad Street sidewalk in front of where the new library would be constructed, so Mayor Brinda pledged that the city would replace the sidewalk. The agreement included provisions for the City to improve the existing City parking area behind Pioneer Plaza to provide sufficient parking for Library patrons. We were all thrilled when construction of the building began in April of 2020 - right at the beginning of the pandemic closures. Fortunately, both Federal and State governments deemed construction to be an essential function, so we were able to continue building. During the pandemic, the Elyria Public Library System was closed for ten weeks, while we pivoted to providing curbside service and virtual programming. Library staff created take home packets for kids and crafters, and recorded hundreds of virtual programs for all ages that are accessible on YouTube. West River and South Branches reopened to the public in July 2020. We quietly did a ribbon cutting for the new Keystone Branch, which opened in August of 2020. Central reopened in December of 2020. Through it all, library staff was on the front line, providing service to our patrons. We worked smart: mandating masks, frequent hand washing, disinfecting of surfaces, social distancing and quarantining of materials. We came through the pandemic unscathed - hard core librarians! As construction progressed, delays in material availability became frequent. Our West River refurbishing took place from December 2020 to mid-March 2021, about 5 weeks longer than expected due to back orders on shelving and flooring. Shipping became erratic. We could get ceramic tile, but not the grout to install it. Doors took ten weeks to arrive. Other materials were discontinued. Our mindset changed from being upset when materials did not come to celebrating when they did! Finally, the Central Library is slated to open to the public on October 2, 2021. EPLS has kept its promise to the taxpayers who voted in support of our levies. The library has consistently delivered outstanding value for the taxpayers’ investment and been a good steward of public funds, during normal operations and the pandemic, and throughout the construction and renovation of five buildings over the last three years. If you haven’t seen the new branches, you should. We have met our obligations and exceeded expectations. As I retire on October 31, 2021, I am proud of the legacy I leave to my adopted community and forever home: five new buildings, three fleet vehicles, branches with public space for meetings and community gatherings, an expanded genealogy and local history room, Makerspaces, a strong organization with outstanding staff, a culture of collaboration with many community partners, and a sound fiscal position. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Elyria Public Library - a year late! – EPLS is poised to serve the 63,650 residents of the Elyria City School District and the Keystone Local School District for the next 150 years. Passing the torch, UPCOMING CLOSINGS Labor Day Monday, September 6 Staff Training Friday, September 17 Thanksgiving Thursday, November 25 Al l locat ions wi l l close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 24 . Christmas Eve Friday, December 24 Christmas Saturday, December 25 2