Long-range plan approved for Wichita branch libraries

The Wichita city council voted Tuesday to endorse a master plan for the city’s branch libraries that will call for a number of program enhancements and some upgrades to library buildings. The plan was earlier approved by the city’s library board.

The city’s director of libraries, Cynthia Berner, said a steering committee made a study of the branch library system last fall and developed a master plan.   The plan is directed toward the goals of supporting a literate community, making sure everyone has access to computers and digital services, and providing equitable access to information.

Berner said the plan calls for the Linwood Branch to be moved to a new location, which has not been identified at this time.  She said it would be in an area along Harry between Hillside and Oliver.   The new location would give the library system a presence in southeast Wichita.

The master plan also calls for an expansion of the Westlink Branch, with the construction of an addition to the south side of the building.   The plan also calls for enhanced programs on early literacy and school readiness, K-12 student achievement and programs for workforce development.    Plans are also being made to remodel the Evergreen Branch.

The estimated cost of all of the projects in the plan would be around $3.7 million, not including the cost of the Linwood relocation or the Evergreen remodeling.  Each project will be submitted for inclusion in the city’s capital improvement program.

Berner said the master plan will support the mission and values of the city, increase effectiveness and improve convenience and service in the library system.