Book it: Library opening March 26

More than four years in the making, the newest branch of the Delaware County District Library (DCDL) is set to be unveiled to the public next month in Powell.

A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and community open house celebration will take place at the Liberty Branch Library, located at 7468 Steitz Road, on Sunday, March 26, from 1-4 p.m., the district announced Monday in a press release. The celebration will include the community’s first look at the facility with guided tours of the branch, as well as entertainment and more.

Voters paved the way for the construction of the new branch in November 2018 with the renewal of the existing DCDL levy. Designed by architecture firm SHP, the three-story building spans 42,000 square feet and cost approximately $12.2 million to construct. Furnishing the library and building its collection, which includes approximately 60,000 books, DVDs, CDs, and other media, came at a cost of $1.8 million, according to the district.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the Liberty Branch Library took place on Nov. 18, 2020, and was attended by various representatives of the DCDL leadership team and local officials.

George Needham, who was serving as the DCDL director at the time but has since retired, said of the project during the ceremony, “Today, we begin the process of delivering on a promise. The jewel box that is the current Powell branch on Liberty Road and Liberty Park is beautiful, but it was built for Powell the way it was in 1982. We promised the people in our district that if they renewed our levy in November 2018, we would build a new library to serve Powell, Liberty Township, and Concord Township.”

The following year, DCDL trustees voted to accept the guaranteed maximum price proposal of Marker, the construction manager at risk, in the amount of $12,218,202. Construction of the building began later in 2021.

Shari Bowers was announced as the branch manager during a meeting of the DCDL trustees last April. Previously, Bowers worked as an adult services manager in the Ritter Public Library and as a branch manager with the Dayton Metro Library system.

The management staff tasked with guiding the branch through its inaugural year also includes circulation manager Kadra Ahmed and assistant branch managers Luke Bentley and Sarah Robertson.