VANDALIA – Reality doesn’t always meet expectations, and exceeding those expectations is even more rare.
Based on the reactions from dozens in attendance for its grand opening, the new Vandalia Branch of the Dayton Metro Library did just that.
“When you walk in and really see it (the library), I thought ‘Oh my gosh,’ said Vandalia Mayor Arlene Setzer. “I had seen all the renderings and drawings, but it is stunning. You can feel the building pulling you into the different areas.”
Tim Kambitsch, Executive Director of the Dayton Metro Library, invited children in the audience to assist him in cutting the ribbon on the new facility. Crowds rushed into the facility which is one of 11 new library branches being built as part of a $187 million upgrade funded by a bond issue passed in 2012.
“This is a great day because we have been looking forward to it for so long,” said Setzer. “They and the school district have literally changed this area to be a center (in our city.) Families visit here, they will have all these new and creative things they can do, and it will bring our community even more together.”
Brad Neavin, Superintendent of the Vandalia-Butler City Schools, touted the relationship that has existed between the school district and the library system for the past five decades.
“This is a great partnership – it has worked very well for this school district for the past 56 years,” he said.
Neavin and Setzer agreed that the library, and the surrounding area, have become gathering spaces for the entire community.
“These are learning spaces as we see it,” Neavin said. “When our students leave at the end of the day and need a space to study or do research, its right here on our campus. Most high schools don’t have that advantage like a college does – but we have that benefit. Plus, its more of a community center than libraries used to be so kids can be safe and socialize in a positive environment.”
‘The building is such a great addition to the city,” said Setzer. “In a number of ways I almost look at this area becoming the center of our city. Take this area, walk a few feet and you have the Art Park and Historical Society, go the other direction you have the Senior Center and Seger Park, you have a small area that is growing and growing.”
The new library has over 20,000 square feet of space, more than double the previous branch. The building features meeting space for community groups even outside of normal library hours as well as smaller study rooms called “Quads.” Each is equipped with wireless monitors to help groups with presentations and collaboration.
“Patrons will love all of the unique, dedicated spaces for all ages and stages, said Vandalia Branch Manager Nancy Maddon. “There is truly something for everyone. The children’s area will be such fun for little ones – with a huge rocket ship in which children can read and play. Teens have their own space with a gaming system and a view of the Aviator’s Athletic Complex. Adults have a lovely reading room with a relaxing fireplace and technology galore throughout the building. The new Library will truly be a wonderful destination for the citizens of Vandalia.”
Other features include:
- A Quiet Reading Room with a fireplace
- A Technology Lab
- An outdoor patio
- An expanded Children’s Area with a “Navigation” theme
- TeenEDGE area with dedicated gaming system and hangout space
- Mobile audio equipment and editing software
- In-Library laptop lending
- An 800 sq ft Opportunity Space available for partnerships of varying lengths
- On-site vending area
- Three specially commissioned art installations
“The Vandalia Branch has always had helpful, intelligent staff ready and willing to assist our patrons, but now we have an amazing building that allows us to provide exceptional services to all ages,” Maddon said. “I can’t wait for the citizens of Vandalia to start enjoying their gorgeous new Library!”
Regular Library hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.