Three Dayton Metro Library branches in northwest Dayton will close in the next several weeks to consolidate into a new facility at Hillcrest and Philadelphia streets.
Set to open April 23, the new Northwest Branch at 2410 Philadelphia Drive will be the largest branch in the library system and replaces the Northtown-Shiloh, Dayton View and Ft. McKinley branches.
The new facility will have 30,000 square feet of space, which is 57 percent more than the combined space of the branches it replaces.
Northtown-Shiloh, 35 Bennington Drive, closes March 29. Dayton View, 1515 Salem Ave., shuts down for good a day later, March 30. And Ft. McKinley, 3735 Salem Ave., will offer computer use only starting on April 4 and then its doors close permanently on April 9.
“We’re keeping Ft. McKinley open the longest because it has the best parking,” said Jayne Klose, the Dayton Metro Library’s community engagement manager. “We have to shut it all down just a little while because we have to move the books and the staff and get the new computers set up.”
The new Northwest Branch will be the first completely new facility to open as part of the library system’s $187 million construction project.
The Miami Twp. Branch, which reopened in November, was expanded. The Electra C. Doren Branch in Old North Dayton, which reopened in January 2015, was renovated.
The new Northwest library will feature more public spaces, computers, meeting and community areas and dedicated areas for children, teens and adults. The meeting room can be dividable for flexible programming.
The branch will offer a reading room, a dual-sided fireplace and a studio for audiovisual editing and recording. It will have study and tutor rooms. The technology lab will be able to host training and other events.
The children’s area will have a meadow theme, a crawl-through portal and a listening station where kids can play audio stories while sitting on mushroom stools, said Klose.
The current branches lack meeting rooms, study rooms and other amenities the new facility will provide, she said.
The Northwest Branch also will have a cafe, ample parking and new technology.
“It will provide improved and expanded services,” said Tim Kambitsch, executive director of the Dayton Metro Library.
The library is only about a mile or so from the three branches it replaces, and it is served by several bus routes, officials said.
The buildings that will close are among the oldest in the system, and they were inefficient and would have been difficult and expensive to retrofit, officials said. Dayton View had parking problems, and Northtown-Shiloh was not much better, they said.
The new facility is being built at the former site of Fairview High School, which is a centralized location that is nearly the same distance from the libraries it replaces, said David Greer, the chairman of the Northwest Priority Board.
He said the library will be state-of-the-art, much larger and boast more and better amenities. He said many people have a hard time changing their habits, but the new library should be worth any inconvenience.
“I think it can meet the needs of residents,” he said.