Brentwood Library out of space — expansion not feasible

The Brentwood Public Library has grown in annual attendance from 45,000 to 65,00 in the past three years, according to head librarian, Vicki Woods. “We’re just popping out at the seams,” she said in an interview at the library on Wednesday. “We’re a victim of our own success.”

She said it’s 6,000 square feet, about half the size of Maplewood’s. The cities have similar populations.

After school 15-20 students go to the teen space, once an underused reference room. The childrens room has one computer, and there’s no room for another.

A row of stacks were removed to add study carrels; lots of tutoring goes on. Books older than three years are moved out to make room for new ones. “If it hasn’t moved in three years it goes,” she said.

Woods also said the one meeting room holds only 15, making holding programs there impractical. They use the Brentwood rec center, receiving a 50 percent discount.

She said she knows people will ask why can’t the library just expand into unused parts of the building. Parts of the basement, the garage and the whole second floor, once the police and fire departments, are now vacant.

“There’s no windows, it’s wet, there’s five steps there and a step here and even more steps up there, and it’s ugly on top of it,” Woods said of the former police department. Old magazines, craft projects and books they plan to to sell are stored there. Architects have said the cost to rehab it for public use would be too high.

She said it’s been suggested to make the former fire department garage into a teen room, but said it would require a second entrance and more staff, which makes it unfeasible.

As far as ideas for the library’s crowding problem, she said the library board has come up with some creative possibilities, but they’re not ready to say more until more details have been worked out.

The former Brentwood police space in the basement of city hall – now used for library storage.

6 thoughts on “Brentwood Library out of space — expansion not feasible

  1. Why not move to the old Office Depot store in the Dierberg’s parking lot? Great parking there and pretty easy access.

    • I doubt they could pay the lease on that space. Not to mention renovating the interior and signage

  2. I believe that the Brentwood Library should rid themselves of some of the non-fiction books from the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s. Many of the ‘facts’ in those books have been debunked or have been put in books that were printed later. That would probably reduce the inventory by about 25%.

  3. Isadora–Unfortunately even in today’s technology dependent life, not everybody has great access to computers, internet providers (especially those that won’t clamp down on data usages and the such. Driving more usage to online archive is always great but we also need to remember to teach people (both younger and older) better ways to quickly and seamlessly do the research online and best practice guidelines! I’m 36 and still remember going through reams of old newspapers, micronfische, and countless encyclopedia and other ‘hitorical fact books’ when I was in high school over 20 (ouch us it really been that long) years ago.
    Also for older generations like my parents there isn’t a week that goes by where I am answering tech questions from the simple (my printer won’t work properly-clean the heads to how do I find this and keep it for future reference-bookmarks!). Although I have shown them numerous times and they have written it step by step they are always constantly needing reminders. I’m happy to help an much as I can, but with a family of my own; it can get and does get daunting to find the time (especially when I already went over how to do it 2-3 times in the last couple of months; and they have even take classes. That is why although the texhnology keeps growing by leaps and bounds; there will always be a need for librarians to help out the older and newer generations of people. I truly applaud the librarian B’s the keeper of the books and teachers of all sorts who need help!!
    Also, purchasing all of the servers needed and related tech people to keep them running can also drive up costs. Eventually I do hope to see some really good streamlined access and learning. It would be nice if the surrounding communities (Maplewood, Brentwood, and even the city of St. Louis to creat several ‘main library campuses as well as ‘substation’ locations where all this can be tied gother to allow for a co-mingling of resource; but in afaraid everybodybwhat rather look at what each community needs for themselves as opposed to what the greater St. Louis Area needs as a whole! Either way, I which much success to all of the different libraries and hope for some kind of multi-integration among all of them!

    • The library is a heavily utilized space and hosts many events for the community. It’s much more than books. Also, not everyone has electronic devices to download eBooks or use databases. The library, including its space, is a critical resource for our city.