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03-03-03: Making room for more activities
The Daily Standard

    MINSTER -    Work is continuing on an expansion project that will nearly double the size of the Francis J. Stallo Memorial Public Library in Minster.
    The library, located in a village-owned building at the corner of Fourth and Main streets, is literally bursting at the seams with space at a definite premium.
    "We're hoping to spread out into the other half of the building later this year," said librarian Becky Prenger. "The expansion is something we have needed for a long time."
    The west part of the two-story brick structure had been rented by Dr. Nicanor Atillo for nearly two decades. The family physician retired last year, freeing the downstairs area that had included a waiting room, reception area, office space and multiple examining rooms.
    "We had known for several years about the library's desperate need for additional space," said Village Administrator Don Harrod. "We were trying to work with the library on a suitable solution when Dr. Atillo decided to retire late last year."
    Village employees began gutting the interior of the former medical office a month ago. Jim Kemper, a public works employee for the village, is supervising the project. Employees will do most of the work with the exception of electrical wiring, carpeting and other finishing detail.
    Harrod estimates the cost of remodeling at $50,000, with Garmann/Miller Associates, Minster, serving as architects. Village officials and representatives of the local architectural firm met with the local library staff as well as Auglaize County Library officials to discuss the establishment of spaces in the new addition.
    The 2,000-square-foot expansion will provide room for a new children's section as well as office space, a craft/work room and first-floor storage of supplies. Current library space, which measured 2,700 square feet, will be renovated to house an expanded adult section with books, videos and magazines.
    "I'm really excited about this project because it will mean more space for the children and the possibility of creating quiet spaces where adults can read," Prenger said. "We have needed extra space for quite a few years. My office is currently located on the second shelf of the return book cart. We're looking forward to increasing after-school activities in the future."
    The additional space in both sections will create more room for books. At the current time, old books have to be taken off the shelves to make room for new.
    Harrod said the most difficult project to date was creating an opening in a brick wall that separated the library and the former doctor's office. There had been an opening decades ago when the building housed a furniture store. However, it had been closed up in more recent times. Plans call for the library's circulation desk to span portions of both sections to provide visual surveillance.
    The village and officials at the Auglaize County Library, of which the Minster facility is a branch, have negotiated a new lease. The current monthly rent of $225 will increase to $300 for nearly double the space. Harrod considers the $75 increase a bargain that will benefit the community.
    A fund-raising committee, which is an extension of The Friends of the Library, has been established to raise funds for furnishing and outfitting the remodeled space.
    "I encourage all of Minster to stop in and see what their library has to offer," Prenger said. "This is an exciting time for us."


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