Xenia library branch to open “mini library” during $8.7 million renovation

Curb service starts in April, as other programs will move; project expands “Spark Place” makerspace and will add more sunlight

XENIA — The Xenia branch of the Greene County Public Library will be closed for a multimillion-dollar building renovation beginning later this spring.

The $8.7 million project, spearheaded by Staffco Construction of Fairborn, includes improving the library’s floor plan, expanding and moving Spark Place (the library’s maker space) to the first floor, and removing the concrete panels that line the building with modern, weatherproof windows.

“The top three improvements our community asked for were an expanded and safer area for children, better access to and more space for our award-winning maker space, Spark Place, and sunlight,” library Executive Director Karl Colón said of a Xenia-only patron survey last fall.

Xenia’s circulation will transition to curbside-only service on April 3, and construction is scheduled to begin in May, Colón said.

The front portion of the library will reopen as a temporary “mini-library” in July, and will include a browsing section, access to computers, printing services, and Spark Place.

“Patrons will be able to use the book drops near the parking lot and near the Market Street entrance as well as continue to use our curbside service for pickups,” Colón said.

Construction is estimated to take 20 months, and the library is currently scheduled to reopen in January of 2025.

All Xenia library programs, like story-times and book clubs, will still be held during the renovation process, but at the Central State University Extension campus on South Progress Drive, next to the Xenia YMCA. All other Greene County Public Library locations are unaffected.

The Xenia library was built in 1978 to withstand tornadoes, and was last renovated over 20 years ago. One of the major parts of the renovation is replacing old steel and concrete panels, intended to protect the building from high winds, with modern weather-proof glass.

“You always build for the last problem that you had,” Colón said. “However, modern construction materials have advanced enough that the building can be both well-lit and structurally sound.”

“The Xenia project is our most challenging to date, in part because the building is our largest and has had millions of visits over the past 40 years,” said library Board President Carol Graff.

The improved floor plan also addresses the community concern to be safer for kids, said Community Information Coordinator Evan Scott. For example, the children’s section is configured so if a child wanders off from their parents, they can’t leave the children’s section without passing the children’s desk, where they might be seen by an adult.

The Xenia Library’s Spark Place is currently two maker-spaces on the second floor of the library measuring about 1,100 square feet. The renovated maker-space, to be located in the library’s current community room, will be 1,500 square feet, with “stretch space” for programming up to twice that size, library staff previously told the Dayton Daily News.

“I’m excited we’re able to bring this state-of-the-art flagship library service where each square inch of the building is going to do something good for the public,” Colón said.

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