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Plan is to complete new Pearland Westside Library by 2022

For patrons of Pearland’s Westside Library in Shadow Creek Ranch, the scenery is going to change for the better in a few years.

The city of Pearland is planning to move the library, now in a retail shopping center that includes an H-E-B grocery on Business Center Drive, to a site a few miles away where a stand-alone $14.25 million facility will be built amid green space. The planned library is slated to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022.

Plans to build the library, which will be near Shadow Creek Parkway and Kirby Drive, are part of a $60 million tax increment reinvestment zone-funded package approved by City Council in 2018. The TIRZ project also includes a new fire station, park improvements and bike and hike trails.

The proposed library would have 39,000 square feet of space — more than triple the 10,000 square feet available in the current facility in the strip center.

“That is a stand-alone building with a bit more space, a bit more parking,” said Jessica Williams, the library’s branch manager. “We have so much foot traffic here (in the current facility) that its hard to give patrons more personalized attention.”

Brazoria County Library Systems director Lisa Loranc said, “The actual land where library will be located is picturesque with trees and greenery, and we are wanting to preserve that as much as possible.”

The building will be near the site for a hike-and-bike trail.

The library building will provide six to eight study rooms versus the two available at the current library. Several meeting rooms and a 100-square foot teaching theater will be part of the new library, and more space will be available for programs such as children’s story time.

The number of computers for public use should double to 12, Williams said.

The plan is to use two-story branch as a multipurpose center for other city services.

The library also could see an increase in its staff, now at 16.

“It’s going to change a lot of how we are going to be able to do things,” Williams said. “We currently get some traffic because people are in the shopping center, but when we move into the stand-alone building, we’re going to be able to focus on being a destination instead of just somewhere people stop when they’re doing other things.”

Westside Library, 2083 Business Center Drive No. 101, has been at the storefront location for six years, and Loranc said the current space was always planned as an interim location. Before that, the branch shared a space with a city of Pearland event center and was primarily used as a pick-up and drop-off location for lending materials.

Under the county library system’s approach, cities provide the buildings for libraries and the country provides the staff and materials, including programing and network capabilities.

Pearland has two county libraries — Westside and the Tom Reid Library at Liberty Drive. The Westside Library was established as a response to the city’s rapid development and increased traffic congestion.

“Pearland has grown exponentially, and there was a great need for additional library services on that side of town,” Loranc said.