Introducing the Clearwater East Community Library
On the morning of Thursday, July 21, 2016, ground was broken on the joint use library project between the Clearwater East Library Branch of the Clearwater Public Library System and the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College. The new library is under construction on the Clearwater SPC Campus just north of their existing library and near the corner of Drew Street and Old Coachman Road. The new library, scheduled to open fully in early 2018, will be a two-story, open-concept building replacing both the old Clearwater East Branch and SPC-Clearwater libraries.
The idea of a joint use library has been under discussion for a number of years since it became apparent that the SPC-Clearwater Library, built in 1964, and the East Branch Library, completed in 1985, were both going to need to be upgraded or replaced. SPC has two other joint use libraries, one in Seminole and one in St. Petersburg. This new library will be a first for the city of Clearwater.
“This partnership allows the college and the city of Clearwater to serve the needs of our citizens and students in one place,” said Dr. Bill Law, former St. Petersburg College President.
The new library will be a combination of spaces dedicated to the different communities of the college and the city, as well as spaces that will be shared by all. The city side of the lower floor will feature a dedicated and enclosed children’s section with a discovery area, something the old building didn’t have, as well as a story room and a teen space. It will also provide a drive-up window for people who want to pick up material without leaving their cars and an automated check-in sorting machine. The college area will have quiet study spaces as well as areas for instruction and group collaboration. Public computer access will be available through 32 first-floor computers.
Although the collections will remain separate, reciprocal borrowing agreements will allow students to check out city library material and city residents to check out college library material. Located between the new library and Drew Street will be a pond and fountain featuring a work of civic art. The public will have a separate parking lot in the area currently occupied by the old Administration building, which will be torn down along with the old college library, when the new building is completed. The college is expected to occupy the new library, to be called the Clearwater East Community Library, first and the city will move its operation after the parking lot is completed.
“This modern, new facility will provide learning, research, and community benefits for students and residents,” said Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos.
Joint use libraries continue to grow in popularity across the country. They allow students and community members to share a wider range of services and resources conveniently. These partnerships emphasize the similar mission of both types of libraries, which is to provide information, programming and assistance to their users. This new partnership in Clearwater is on the right track.
(June 2017 Aerials SPC Library)
(July 2017 Signing Ceremony)
-Staff of the Clearwater East and St. Petersburg College-Clearwater libraries, as well as city and college leaders, wrote messages to the future on the unfinished floors of the lobby of the joint use Clearwater East Community Library on July 11. Construction of the new building is ongoing.
Follow the progress of the construction below: