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Library plans purchase of former Payless store

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

What was once the site where do-it-yourselfers bought tools of their trade may now become a place to read more about it.

The Springfield-Greene County Library District's director, Annie Busch, has received approval to negotiate the purchase of the Payless Cashways building on South Campbell Avenue.

"We're in the very preliminary stages of the negotiations right now. This is something totally different for us. We intend to create a destination library on this site," Busch said.

The structure, which is only 3 years old, is 77,251 square feet on 20 acres and has 285 public parking spaces. The facility could hold major collections of print and electronic resources, full-service adult and children's collections and could also have a cafe and gift shop, Busch said. The library has some major concerns about space right now: Busch said the library has to remove a book from the shelves for each new book it adds.

If the library can purchase the Payless Cashways building, it will close its Cavalier Center and the Kickapoo Prairie Branch of the library. Kickapoo will be closed because it is so close to the Payless building, and the new facility will take on the support services now housed in the Cavalier Center.

The new building would not be a new main library; it currently does not have a name but would be a community-wide library, Busch said.

The Springfield-Greene County Library has nine total facilities, eight of which are library branches.

A site is under construction in Fair Grove that would be similar to the library's branches in Willard and Ash Grove. That branch will probably open in 1999, Busch said.

The new building may contain more electronic services; Busch said a public computer lab is a possibility. Right now, the library does not have the floor space for a public lab.

Busch said the Payless Cashways building would need no major structural remodeling.[[In-content Ad]]

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