For years, east Orange County residents have asked for a larger library and a more convenient location. Now, the Orange County Library System plans to deliver on both requests at two new libraries.
Library officials have announced plans to open a branch at the Colonial Promenade shopping center as early as November.
They also expect to break ground within a year on a larger branch farther east, at Sophie Boulevard and East Colonial Drive. That branch will replace the crowded one at 9318 E. Colonial Drive.
“There are a lot of folks in the east side of the county who would like more libraries in their area because there is nothing close to them,” said John Martin, the library system’s division head for branch libraries.
The Herndon branch, at the Colonial Promenade shopping center, will fill the space vacated by the old Barnes & Noble bookseller.
At more than 13,000 square feet, the library will be one of the largest of the county’s 12 satellite branches and feature two meeting rooms, study areas and the latest best sellers.
“Because the library is near downtown and on the heavily traveled Colonial Drive, it will be easy for residents to dash in after work to pick out a quick book or two,” said marilyn Hoffman, the library’s community relations coordinator. “Shoppers also will find it convenient bacause the branch is near other stores,” she said. “We put libraries in areas people can easliy use and what works best for them,” Hoffman said.
But Hoffman pointed out that the branch will provide plenty of tables and a deep reference section for those intent on doing research.
The space became vacant about two years ago when the Barnes & Noble moved to the colonial Plaza Marketcenter, less than a mile a mile away from the new branch site. Library officlals don’t think the bookstore will take away from the library business.
“It’s not all competition. It almost enhances the library having a bookstore in the area,” Hoffman said. “People may see a book at banres & Noble they would like to borrow from the library. And there are some books they’ve borrowed from the librtary they may want to buy for their perminent collections.”
Library officials hope to start construction this year on a new branch that will replace the library at 9318 E. Colonial Drive, which patrons have complained is too crowded and doesn’t offer enough services.
At 12,500 square feet- more than 3,000 square feet larger than the current branch- the new library will have meeting rooms, computers, vending machines and a drive-up window where patrons can drop off or pick up books.
The five-acre property will be leased from Orange County, and the building will cost about $1.4 million. The library is expected to open in the fall of 1999.