ANKENY, Iowa -- It’s the season for indoor activities, but the Ankeny library is closed for the next few weeks. It's for good reason, though. It's moving to a new facility.
The city has recognized its need for a larger, greater library for over a decade, but it wasn't until the community passed a 2017 bond referendum by over 70 percent that the ball really started to get rolling. Now they are only weeks away from seeing it all come together.
“I think the city has just been growing like crazy and it's a lovely place to live. We understood that at times you just have to make do with what you have and our trustees and our library staff have really done that for years, just making do with what we have,” Ankeny Library Director Sam Mitchel said. “Now it's finally our turn and it's a beautiful civic building that I just think is going to be the crown jewel of Ankeny.”
Currently closed for the move, Mitchel said their over 600,000 items could barely fit and the desire to expand selections just wasn’t possible. Now, they are more than doubling their square footage and getting larger spaces all around for kids, teens, and adults.
Mitchel said they are also more than doubling their meeting areas, plenty of study and conference rooms. One is large enough to fit up to 400 people. The city's council chambers are now in the library too, making this a key community space for residents.
“When you think of libraries you think of books and movies and items. People are still coming in for that, but another aspect of that is a meeting space. That fits into what a library mission is, to bring people in and give people opportunities. People in this community are looking for a place where they can meet each other, they can socialize,” Mitchel said.
The old location is not all lost. The city said it will be renovated and become a civic building for their public works, parks and recreation, and planning and building departments.
The new library is set to open on February 3rd.