ADA — As spring ramps up and Easter approaches, there are mixed blessings for the Ada Public Library. On a positive note, planned renovations and expansions of and to the library will soon begin. On the down-side, the library’s director, Amanda Bennett, has announced her resignation.
The current building, constructed in 1953, was expanded and renovated in the 1960s and 1990s, as the needs changed and the community outgrew the space. By beginning this process we take a huge step forward in our ability to continue quality service for our patrons, while expanding on the amount and variety of library programs, as well as community ones, which we will be able to offer. Through the building project, the Ada Public Library will be a modern library facility. The expansion and remodel will give the Library a new parking lot, a large programming and community gathering space, much needed updates to the children and teen areas, upgraded technology, increased seating, as well as new carpet and paint.  
The majority of the funds for the projected $750,000 expansion and renovations came from trusts left to the Ada Public Library, wisely invested over the years. The Ada Public Library operates on revenues from the state’s Public Library Fund, which is approximately 1.66 - 1.7 percent of the state budget, divided among Ohio’s public libraries (Hardin County Libraries split funds among the six county libraries; Belle Center receives a small amount due to service areas crossing counties). It should be noted that the Ohio Library Council estimates that for every $1 spent by Ohio’s Public Libraries sees a return of $5 to Ohioans.
The Ada Public Library also passed a one mill five-year renewal operating levy on November 8, 2016, which means that a home valued at $100,000 would pay approximately $20/year, or $1.66/month in taxes to the Library. An Operating Levy means that the funds raised can only be used toward the day-to-day operations of the Library, which means things like heating and cooling, salaries, cost of books, and does not go toward the building project.
Groundbreaking for the building is projected for late spring/early summer 2017. At times during the construction, the library will be closed for short periods to move collections, and for the construction crews to safely handle any elements deemed unsafe for the public. Those dates will be provided in advance through public announcements and online at the library Facebook page. As we progress forward, the public should consider the calendar of events as flexible, and should check with the Library daily for event changes.
Sadly, Bennett, who has been instrumental in moving the renovations forward, won’t be present to see the project come to fruition. Instead, she is relocating to the Chicago area to pursue family and career opportunities.
Bennett, who assumed the directorship of the library a little under five years ago, will leave her position effective Friday, April 21.
“I would love to stay for the building project and I really loved working in Ada, but it’s just not in our family plans,” Bennett said. “It’s definitely my biggest professional regret.”
Contributions to the renovation and expansion may be delivered to the Ada Public Library with checks payable to the Ada Public Library, with “Building” on the memo line.