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Columbia Public Library promoting extra parking to reduce congestion

Monday, July 14, 2008 | 4:40 p.m. CDT; updated 12:39 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — The main parking lot of the Columbia Public Library is usually crowded with the cars of book-loving patrons. So crowded, in fact, that finding a parking spot is becoming a problem for library visitors. What most people don’t know is that the library has a second parking lot across the street, which has almost as much space as the main lot.

“If you’re in the far corners of our main parking lot, it’s a shorter walk to park across the street,” said Tom Richards, president of the Columbia Library District Board of Trustees.

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The library is on a mission to promote the second lot to patrons. Currently, the special business district, higher education institutions and hospitals are allowed to hang banners on city street light poles. The library is awaiting an amendment to the ordinance from the City Council that would allow the hanging of light pole banners on library property.

“We want to promote the library and draw attention to parking on the north side,” said Kris Farris, public relations coordinator for the Columbia Library District.

Although the banners have not yet been designed, Richards said they will be “something simple, not unlike what is downtown or on the Boone Hospital campus.”

According to estimates from last year, the banners will cost between $6,500 and $8,000, which includes printing the banners and buying hardware to mount them, Farris said. The money will come from library funds.

Regardless of the cost, Richards was optimistic about the effects the banners will have. He pointed out that the parking lot itself cost the library a lot more money than the banners to advertise it will.

“If we can promote the parking lot, it will be well worth it,” Richards said.


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