SJCPL announces main library to move to Brown Intermediate Center temporarily

NOW: SJCPL announces main library to move to Brown Intermediate Center temporarily


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On Monday, the Saint Joseph County Public Library board approved a letter of intent between the library and the South Bend Community School Corporation to temporarily move the main library to Brown Intermediate Center. 

Renovation of the main library on South Main Street in Downtown South Bend is set to begin either November 2019 or the start of 2020, according to library officials. The letter of intent states the library will lease the now-vacant building for the library and administrative services. 

“We’ve been thinking about where our temporary location is going to be ever since we started thinking about the renovation,” said Jennifer Henecke, with SJCPL. 

Henecke said construction could take 18 to 24 months. However, before construction begins, library officials said the approximately 250,000 items, including Studio 304 and Local History department, inside the main library, must be moved. 

Henecke said SJCPL considered approximately 20 locations for the temporary library. According to library officials, Brown Intermediate Center met the needs of SJCPL and was cost effective. 

A lease has not been signed, but here the specifics of the letter of intent:

  • Between November 1, 2019, to October 31, 2021, 
  • SJCPL plans to lease the first floor, which is approximately 29,000 square feet, 
  • SJCPL will use the building for library services and administrative office spaces. 

A lease has not been signed yet. 

According to the letter of intent, the base rent for the property is listed at a dollar per year. However, incoming SBCSC Superintendent said that number is a holding place in the letter of intent. 

“The library will be paying for the usage of the Brown building,” Dr. Cummings said. 

Brown Intermediate Center was one of the three schools closed down a part of the current Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Spells’ Focus 2018 plan. Dr. Cummings said he is excited to show the community the school corporation is finding ways to use the vacant buildings and be fiscally responsible. 

“I think the cooperation between the school corporation and brown, that’s great,” said Murray Miller, who uses the main library often. 

This move could be a problem for some people who use the main library regularly and don’t have access to transportation. Brown Intermediate Center is a 9-minute drive from the main library. 

But for those without a car or accessible transportation, like the homeless population, the temporary library is a 55-minute walk from Downtown South Bend. 

“With the homeless being walking, it’ll be a little bit more difficult for foot traffic,” said Miller. 

Library officials said they will take this issue into serious consideration as they now move to start planning the moving process. Henecke said staff will explore other opportunities for those who are underrepresented or without transportation. 

“We’re still in the works of figuring out how we’re going to do all of these things,” she said. “But going to Brown opens up a lot of possibilities.”

The hours of operation for library services, at the temporary facility, generally will be 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There will be no Sunday library operations, except for special events. 

The hours of operation for the administrative offices generally will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

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