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The Maitland City Council recently approved a proposal to build a beautiful new public library that will provide more space and modern features to meet the growing needs of the community.
The plan would build a 20,000-square-foot, two-story facility complete with large collection spaces, reading areas, meeting and activity rooms, staff offices, outdoor patios, attractively landscaped grounds and extra parking within part of the city’s three-acre Quinn Strong Park located off Maitland Avenue and Packwood Avenue.
The new structure would replace the city’s existing, 12,300-square-foot city library, which originally opened in 1907. Despite expansions in 1959, 1972 and 1989, that building is cramped for many current library activities and has no extra property for additional building enlargements. A 2017 study indicated that numerous essential construction improvements would reduce the building’s interior space.
The proposal voted unanimously by City Council members would provide $18.7 million for new library construction and up to $4.5 million to renovate the existing library for another public use.
The city will seek approval from city voters for $14 million in project bond financing. A referendum will appear on ballots for the March 19, 2024, Florida Presidential Preference Primary. An additional $4.7 million in project costs will be paid by existing city funds. If approved by voters, the bond referendum would add about $111 to the annual tax bill of an average home with a taxable value of $500,000.
If approved, the project will address one of Maitland’s biggest needs to upgrade and expand its aging library building. Construction of the new library could be completed by 2025.
In 2020, City Council members chose Quinn Strong Park as the best location for the new library, which would be positioned next to the existing library as well as the Art & History Museums of Maitland.
The city hosted four public meetings this past June, followed by an online survey, to gather library ideas from residents. Different work groups offered input regarding architecture, rooms, seating, technology, services and other features desired for a new library. Library staff members also were interviewed.
HBM Architecture and Interior Design incorporated the data into a library plan and cost analysis, which was presented to the city in September. In October, the City Council chose a mid-century modern architectural design that complements existing development from around Maitland.
Maitland’s public library first started in 1896 when Clara Dommerich donated 360 books, which were initially placed in the home living room of a local teacher and then relocated to an empty storefront on Horatio Avenue. More books were donated by residents who spent their winters in Maitland.
In 1907 the Maitland Library Association was created to build a dedicated library at its existing location on South Maitland Ave. Today, the library collection exceeds 96,000 items, including nearly 29,000 downloadable books and audio books. The public facility is popular with its weekly activities for youth and adults.
For more information about the library project, please visit www.itsmymaitland.com/library .