COLUMBIA — The south parking lot of the Columbia Public Library is undergoing construction to narrow the entrance lane, create a pick-up and drop-off area, and widen the exit lane.
The main entrance lane is being changed to make it more difficult to use it as an exit, and patrons are instead encouraged to use the exit lane located further south.
The pick-up and drop-off area will create a place where patrons can wait for rides or be dropped off. The area will include benches for people waiting, as well as street lamps.
The exit lane is being widened to give drivers more room to maneuver as they exit the parking lot.
The lot will still have 133 parking spots.
Construction on the parking lot started May 19 and was scheduled to last two weeks, but weather has delayed the project. According to Kris Farris, public relations administrator for Daniel Boone Regional Library, the project is more than half complete.
Farris said the construction was needed because of an increase in patronage. In April, there was an 8.3 percent increase in circulation compared to April 2007. There has been an increase of 12.1 percent in library visits from 2007 to 2008.
Visitors to the library are encouraged to use the library’s north parking lot located across the street from the library on the northwest corner of Garth Avenue and Broadway behind the “La Colomba” statue. The north lot has 104 parking spots.
To draw attention to the north parking lot, the library has put multiple signs in the south lot reminding people of the additional parking. In addition, the library is looking into having the city amend an ordinance that currently allows hospitals, colleges and universities to hang banners to include the library. If the ordinance is amended, the library would hang banners in the north parking lot to show that the parking lot is for the library.
The parking lot construction is being financed by the library. The total cost of the construction is expected to range from $62,000 to $72,000. Some of the landscaping in the project is being paid for by funds donated by patrons to the library.
“We just hope that by making improvements to the parking lot, we will improve patron safety and convenience at the library,” Farris said.