Western Shawnee and Lenexa residents do not have their Monticello Library quite yet. But
thanks to funding approved recently by the county commission, they will soon have a bit shorter drive to check out books.
It’s called a “lending machine,” and it will be built at the site of the future Monticello branch, 22435 W. 66th St., in Shawnee
sometime in 2015. The machine will cut miles off the drive to check out materials at the
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Shawnee and Lackman branches, which are currently the closest for those residents.
The machine is similar to the red vending machines used to rent videos, said library spokesman Christopher Leitch. Library users could use the machines to browse and check out materials.
Patrons will make selections from a display screen that lists what materials are available in each machine.
The Johnson County Commission approved $690,000 in bonds for the $1.15 million project recently. The rest comes from the library’s dedicated mill levy.
Similar machines have been used in other libraries in the country but they are new in Johnson County. The library will open another one next to the Mill Creek Activity Center, 6518 Vista Drive, next year. That machine can hold up to 1,000 items, depending on their size.
The Mill Creek lending machine is funded separately from the package approved by the
commission last week.
Library officials are still working out the details, so no firm timeline on the machine is expected until the beginning of 2015, Leitch said.
The project includes not only the machine but parking, lighting and a protective shelter. It will be the first thing built at the site of the future Monticello Library. The land to build a Monticello branch was donated to the county in 2010, but the county has not begun construction.
The county is also planning significant changes to the Central Resource Library to enlarge the popular MakerSpace. The library will receive about $70,000 from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, plus approval of bonds from the commission to augment an area that has a 3-D printer, video, audio and design software and equipment and a sewing machine, dress form and soldering equipment.
Library officials plan to add 1,500 square feet to the space, making it about six times larger than it is now. The Kauffman funds will allow the library to buy more equipment and extend programs and outreach.
MakerSpace is so popular that there is at least a two-week wait time for the use of the printer, Leitch said. It will be moved to a space closer to the entryway and will provide space for more equipment, which is used by businesses as well as students and hobbyists, he said.
The $3.6 million in bonds for Central Resource also will be used to enlarge and relocate the Carmack Room for special speakers and programs, and include space for a third book store for the Friends of the Library. The fundraising group has an online store and stores at the Blue Valley and Antioch branches.
Money from the bonds also will be used to upgrade and repair heating and air-conditioning systems at the Central Resource branch. The library will remain open during construction. Work is expected to start by early spring of 2015 and conclude by the end of the same year.