St. Louis County Library - Renews, Transforms Library System

April 11, 2017
Written by: CREW-St. Louis

St. Louis County Library - Renews, Transforms Library System

CREW-St. Louis members and guests enjoyed a presentation over lunch by Kristen Sorth, Director of St. Louis County Library, on the system's multiyear capital improvement campaign.  Called Your Library Renewed, the improvements were made possible by a tax increase approved in 2012. During her presentation, Sorth explained the campaign's progress in updating or replacing 19 of the 20 library branches. To date, 11 of the 19 projects are completed. Sorth provided insights, along with photos, of the new branches and renovations, adding lessons learned along the way.

The event on April 11 was held at the Prairie Commons Branch in Hazelwood, which underwent extensive renovations over several months before it reopened to the public on Sept. 28, 2016. It includes new concepts and amenities, such as private study rooms, comfortable seating and quiet rooms. Children's areas also have been updated to incorporate vibrant colors and furniture for families to read and interact while doing so.

Several CREW-St. Louis members have played - and continue to play - a role in the multi-year capital improvement campaign. These members received the Economic Impact Award at the 12th Annual CREW-St. Louis Networking Awards. The award recognizes the lasting, positive impact that commercial real estate has on the community.

Following the presentation, all attendees were given the opportunity to tour the Prairie Commons branch and even register for their library card.

"I was blown away by the increase in patrons they have seen at locations where the renovations have been completed," says Christine Beck with Central Bank.

"It was amazing to see all the renovations discussed in the campaign presentation demonstrated at The Prairie Commons branch. The most unique improvements to me are the laptop bars and private study rooms. I would even use the private study rooms myself to get some work done," says Michelle Miller with NAI Desco.

Katie Siebold with Central Bank notes, "I really liked testing out the comfortable seating styles, and it was great to see so many visitors using the business center with a fax, copy and scanner machines. The campaign has provided a great deal of additional resources to the public, of which I plan to start utilizing as well."

Christine Beck adds, "I promised myself I would be stopping at my local branch soon to get myself a new library card."

The Your Library Renewed campaign also introduced several innovative programs, such as Listen Up STL, a local music collection individuals may stream on the library's website along with 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, which encourages children to read and get a head start in school as a result.  

"The Library's new, collaborative programs is wonderful for encouraging kids to learn with their family and friends. In addition, the renovations to the facilities provide such a great environment for everyone of all ages to learn, read and work in. The entire Your Library Renewed campaign has been an incredible project to learn about, and I'm excited to see all of the future plans come to life," says Lauren Berry, Associate at Gershman Commercial Real Estate.

StL County Library