The Pearland City Council voted to approve a library expansion project for the Westside Library which will add approximately 4,000 sq. ft. of space to the facility. The additional space will provide seating and small group conversation/meeting areas that are not currently available.
“Libraries are no longer just places to study-they are exciting educational and cultural centers that offer programs ranging from painting lessons, to computer skills classes,” said Mayor Tom Reid.
In an effort to provide more communal space, the construction plans incorporate an adult reading area, a teen area with study tables and lounge seating along with two new study rooms.
“The expansion of the Pearland Westside Library is a huge step in the right direction for Brazoria County Library System and citizens of Brazoria County. The additional space will give the branch some much-needed breathing room for staff and patrons. The Pearland Westside Library is currently one-third the size of the Tom Reid Library, and circulates just as much material,” said David T. Thrash, Library Director for the Brazoria County Library System.
In addition to being able to better accommodate the high volume of materials being checked out, the expansion will increase the library's ability to provide technology for residents and better accommodate the growing number of staff needed to support library services and activities. Approximately twelve new data ports will be added for patrons who bring their own devices and at least three new computers and workstations will be added. Additionally, an office for the Children's Librarian and expansion of the staff's workroom and break room is included in the plans.
Since it opened in the storefront near HEB, the Pearland Westside Branch has been one of Brazoria County's top circulating branches, starting right out of the gate as the second busiest, and since February 2014 has been the highest circulating branch of the Brazoria County Library System. Since October 1, 2013, patrons have checked out 242,389 items at the Pearland Branch, while 231,122 items have been checked out at Pearland Westside. In comparison, the number of checkouts at Brazoria County's third busiest branch in Lake Jackson during the same period is 127,941.
The push for a new library on Pearland's west side was a grassroots effort initiated more than three years ago by the Friends of Pearland Westside Library when the West Side
Event Center, which had functioned as a small drop-off and pick-up library location for the west side of the city, saw an overwhelming demand. In addition to the expansion plan for the Westside Library, the Tom Reid Library expansion is currently in the planning stage.
Both libraries are made possible through a partnership between the City of Pearland and Brazoria County and are branches of the Brazoria County Library System.