Cass District Library asking for community input on facilities master plan

CASSOPOLIS — This week, Cass District Library Director Barbara Gordon’s office was filled with old blueprints and building plans. Soon, she hopes to update those plans with the help of an architectural firm and community input.

In December 2020, the Library Board awarded the bid for a facilities master plan to Intersect Studio of Kalamazoo, which will be partnering with Bialosky Cleveland. Gordon said the project would bring an experienced team of architects and designers to Cass County to study library facilities and help the staff plan for critical updates and capital projects. Now, the library is asking the community to be a part of the process.

Until the end of the month, the Cass District Library is offering a survey for community members to provide input about what amenities and services they would like to see at their local library branch. Those who partake in the survey will be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

“[The architect firm] is going to come in and study things like furnishings, roofing, mechanicals and things like that,” Gordon said. “We also felt it was a really great time to survey the community. The library has not done a district-wide survey in a very long time. Since we are planning on investing in our facilities, and some of our facilities are starting to really show their age, myself and the library board thought it would be a good time to bring in some community feedback and see what improvements the community might like to see. We want to know how they are currently using the library, and based on that, how we can make their experience better.’

Gordon said, once the facilities master plan is completed, it will provide the Cass District Library with a 10- to 20-year plan to improve its Howard, Edwardsburg and Cassopolis branches.

“Each branch has a different demographic that they serve,” Gordon said. “We are interested in knowing what folks at the main branch want to see and how they might differ from what Howard or Edwardsburg want to see in their library, and how we can make accommodations for those things.”

Gordon said the district is looking at practical improvements, such as additional parking, and improvements that would attract modern library users, such as computer centers and community programming spaces.

“I would like to reimagine our current facilities so that we can better reflect modern library services,” Gordon said. “This main branch facility was built in the 1970s when public libraries just looked a lot different. What public libraries were focused on in 1977 is not necessarily what we are focused on now. I think it would be really great just to reimagine this building in a more modern light.”

Once the community surveys are submitted, Gordon said the facilities master plan team would review them. She expects the full master plan to be completed in May. Until then, she said she would encourage every resident who uses the library to make their voices heard by taking the survey.

“We really want [community member’s] feedback because it is their tax dollars that will be funding these projects,” Gordon said. “Right now, the sky is kind of the limit, and that is exciting. We have a unique opportunity to have each branch really reflect its community’s needs.”

To take part in the online survey, visit surveymonkey.com/r/casslibrarymasterplan. Paper surveys are also available at all branch locations.

Cass County

Cass County votes to engage Kalamazoo studio for Cass County Historic Courthouse services

Berrien County

Buchanan graduate now Berrien County prosecuting attorney

Cass County

Cass County Veterans Affairs Office welcomes new leadership

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg Chamber of Commerce hosting monthly giveaways

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 770,822 cases, 16,731 deaths

Dowagiac

No danger found following lockdown at DUHS

News

Berrien County Public Defender’s Office to increase staff

Berrien County

Buchanan man named 911 Telecommunicator of the Year

Dowagiac

Dowagiac man arrested for possession of meth

Education

Niles teacher accused of assault pleads not guilty

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: April 7-13

Berrien County

LMC to host virtual career, program expo for prospective students

Dowagiac

Dowagiac woman to compete in ‘Jeopardy!’ 2021 Tournament of Champions

Business

Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce hosts ribbon-tying ceremonies for two new businesses

Dowagiac

Four arrested in Dowagiac drug search

Berrien County

Niles city, DART consider south county expansion

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 764,519 cases, 16,619 deaths

Cass County

Cass County Fair Food Drive-Thru event returns April 23-25

Dowagiac

City of Dowagiac purchases former Lincoln School for redevelopment, blight removal

Business

Apple Festival Spring Market prepares for May event

DEVELOPING NEWS

UPDATE: Police respond to bomb threat at Edwardsburg factory

Business

Eat Drink Niles to revitalize Third Thursdays

Dowagiac

Decatur resident injured in Wayne Township crash

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 756,564 cases, 16,586 deaths