The Audubon Library in Amherst, the second-busiest library in the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system, may be getting bigger.
Amherst officials are discussing an expansion to the popular branch at 350 John James Audubon Parkway.
“We’re looking at expanding the library by 5,000 square feet, with a new children’s center and community meeting rooms,” said Amherst Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein.
An addition to Audubon is among the suggested projects in the town’s capital-improvement program, which shows a 10,000-square-foot addition by 2017 at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.
But in recent months, Weinstein and Amherst Library Director Roseanne Butler-Smith have been discussing the possibilities of a smaller addition, which the supervisor indicated could come a bit sooner.
Amherst is in the process of building a $1 million addition to the Town Court building, but the Audubon Library could be next in line.
“I can see the courthouse being expanded this year, and the library perhaps next year,” Weinstein said.
Cost is still being determined.
Space has been an issue at Audubon – the largest of four library branches in Amherst – ever since the original 13,300-square-foot building opened in the late 1980s.
A 1997 addition expanded the library substantially, to 22,200 square feet, but Audubon saw 213,817 visitors come through the door in 2013, Butler-Smith said.
Only the Central Library downtown is busier, she said.
“We don’t have enough space,” Butler-Smith said.
“Libraries are so very important to the communities they’re serving,” she said, “and we are continually seeing the need for more computer space or room for programming.”
More specifically, the town is looking to double the size of Audubon’s community room, whose current capacity is 100 people.
In addition, Audubon only has three small meeting rooms, which are often used by study groups and literacy volunteers teaching English as a second language, Butler-Smith said.
Discussions also involve creating more of a true children’s section at Audubon, as well as increasing the amount of space for patrons to use the computers, she said.