April 23, 2018

Akron Opens New Main Library

By LJ Staff

After three years of planning and construction, the new main library of the Akron-Summit County Public Library opened with a gala celebration on October 16. The newly remodeled and enlarged $57 million library was built around the shell of the old one, doubling square footage to 270,000 and adding a 430-seat auditorium, a new 12,000 square foot children’s library, teen section, and room for 174 computers. Space is also abundant outside the structure. An adjacent parking deck provides free parking. One-half acre is devoted to a 10,000 square foot park, along with an outdoor amphitheater and café. Project: LEARN, an independent literacy program, also inhabits the building.

The library ran over budget – its original price was $50 million – and one year behind schedule. It was funded by an $80 million bond issue approved by voters in 1997. The same tax will fund the renovation or replacement of 15 branches. Design architects are Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects of New York City.