The Lawrence Public Library hopes to have cost estimates for expanding its services and possible locations for establishing branch libraries by the end of the year.
At least those are the plans Library Director Bruce Flanders outlined to Lawrence city commissioners during a planning meeting Tuesday at the library.
Mayor Jim Henry and Commissioners David Dunfield, Erv Hodges and Marty Kennedy gave a preliminary nod of approval for Flanders to pursue his plans.
"I think it's very appropriate," Hodges said.
Flanders outlined the library's ideas for expansion, which include greater emphasis on technology in addition to providing more access to circulation materials.
The downtown library is no longer centrally located, and there is a need for possibly two 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot branch sites, Flanders said.
Flanders promised commissioners to look at putting branch libraries where city recreational centers are located. He also talked about establishing computerized information kiosks connected to the library resources at grocery stores, shopping centers and other public places.
"I think there is a very low degree of risk in developing these ideas," Flanders said. "None of this is new. They've been tried other places."
In addition to branch and kiosk sites, Flanders said it is necessary to continue to make improvements to the 28-year-old downtown library at 707 Vt. St.
Expanding the size of the library building, however, probably isn't appropriate even though it is crowded, Flanders said.
"We're basically landlocked," he said. "I just think that we're kind of maxed out."
New branch libraries could be staffed with part-time employees, Flanders said.