An artist's rendering of the new library building planned for West 12th Street in Benton.

  Planning is progressing on Benton’s new library that will be located on West 12th Street.

  The firm of CMS Architects of Benton has recently completed a rendering of the outside of the facility and design is underway for the building.  Kristi Tucker, Marshall County Public Library Director, said she hopes  to be ready to advertise and bid the project this December and break ground in Jan. 2018.

  The facility will be approximately 31,000 square feet and consist of two levels.  Tucker said due to the topography of the lot on which the library will be built, architects have had to work around some varying elevations to accommodate the building’s design.

  “We are excited about the new features, expanded space and services we will be able to provide to the community.” said Tucker. “Libraries are not as quiet as they used to be because  they have become a community conversation spot, learning center and meeting area, while also providing books, movies and audio materials to be checked out. A major goal of this project has been to help the Marshall County Public Library provide some quiet space for patrons.”

  Some features of the new facility include a larger children’s area with a separate circulation desk, a designated space for teen patrons with material and computers, additional space for book shelving which allows for easier browsing, more space for audio visual materials which provides for better display.

  In addition, the new library will offer a research room specifically for genealogy research and Kentucky material.  Tucker said the staff has plans to offer programming to the community with interests in this area.

  The facility’s meeting space will be much larger than at the current building and offer the ability to partition the space into two separate rooms, each with a small kitchenette for light snacks and drinks.

  Tucker said the building’s technology will promote STEM learning for the community’s youth. “We want to stimulate their willingness to learn new technologies and empower them for the future where we are surrounded by automation and augmented reality.” she said.

  A flexible computer lab/classroom will also be part of the design. Tucker said the current building does not lend itself to promote training and programs using computers.  She is hopeful the new computer room will allow for after-hours access to provide for groups in need of a computer lab.

  Tucker said one of the chief concerns of the new facility is that is be energy efficient. “We hope to minimize costs for future utilities by incorporating energy efficient materials such as LED lighting, ICF (insulated concrete forms), closed cell foam insulation and other advanced building materials.

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