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​President Drake helps Columbus Metropolitan Library open new campus-area branch

The Columbus Metropolitan Library opened the doors to a new branch in the campus area, and it offers a new chance to continue a critical partnership.

President Michael V. Drake helped with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at the new  Northside Branch. The new library has been rebuilt on the site of the old branch – on North High Street just north of King Avenue – but at 24,900 square feet, it is three times the size.

“There is a real transformation that has been taking place in this community and this is another step forward,” Drake said.

The new branch has new learning areas, meeting rooms and a reading loft that offers a 180-degree view of High Street.

“Investments in our libraries pay us back over and over again. Generations of families will benefit from this welcoming space,” said Jeffery Lyttle, president of the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation Board.

Library patrons will enjoy three times more space in the new building

The Northside Branch may have a new building, but the library has long been a partner with the university. Drake spoke about one program that helps Ohio seniors convert volunteer hours into college credit.

Ohio residents 60 or older can enroll in the “ GIVE back. GO forward” program and complete 100 or more hours of community service. They then earn a voucher for three free undergraduate credit hours at Ohio State. They can use the credit themselves or donate it to another Ohio resident.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library is one of the GIVE back. GO forward partners and uses volunteers to help children learning to read or in their homework assistance centers.

Martha Hewitt lives in the neighborhood around the new library. She said she had not heard of the program but was eager to learn more about it. The new building impressed her.

“It’s pretty incredible. I spend a lot of time at the library so I’m pretty excited about it,” she said.

The university also collaborates with the library through an intra-library loan agreement and the system’s leisure reading collection at Thompson Library. Drake said the library is a keystone of the neighborhood.

“What we’ve found is that libraries are a vital part of our communities, a vital part of our universities and our neighborhoods. They really are a place where people come together to learn and to interact with the broader world,” he said.