Public input sought on possible renovation of Brookings Public Library, Brookings Activity Center

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BROOKINGS — Do you use the Brookings Public Library? Are you a member of the Brookings Activity Center? Have you considered ways these buildings could better serve you and the public? The library and the activity center would like to know.

The city of Brookings has contracted with OPN Architects of Iowa to study and recommend options for facility improvements, space needs and opportunities for connectivity.

“The city has embarked on this process because we want to ensure both of these popular facilities can serve the needs of our community well into the future,” said Ashia Gustafson, director of library services. “Input from community members is vital because we want their ideas to be reflected in the proposed options. We want to hear from as many people, of all ages, as possible.”

Three ways the public can provide feedback are:

  • Attend one or both of the public engagement sessions on Feb. 15. People may come and go as their schedules allow. There will be no formal presentation.
    • Session 1 will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at the activity center, 320 Fifth Ave.
    • Session 2 will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the library, 515 Third St.
  • Complete online surveys for either and/or each facility.
  • Fill out paper surveys, which are available for pickup at the activity center and the library.

“Given the age of both buildings, the city has asked the consultant to include recommendations for facility improvements,” said Kristin Zimmerman, director of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. The department oversees the activity center. “We also want to explore and identify opportunities for physical, recreational and programming connection and collaboration between the library and the activity center. Ultimately, our goal is to help create a stronger sense of community,” Zimmerman said.

The current library building has been in service since 1976. The facility was expanded from 16,000 square feet to 33,000 square feet in 1999. Since then, slight modifications have been made, but space limitations and dated amenities restrict the services the library is able to provide, Gustafson said. In 2023, the library’s walk-in count was 124,245 and nearly 23,000 attendees took advantage of the 963 programs offered 

The activity center is adjacent to the north of the library. The activity center building started its life in 1990 as the Elks Lodge. The lodge sold the building to the city in 2004 and now rents some of the space.

The activity center offers membership to people age 55 and older. Since the city hired its first full-time senior services supervisor in May 2023, membership has nearly tripled with 318 members at year’s end. Programming also has increased considerably.

For questions about the library and activity center study, contact Gustafson at 605-697-9407 or agustafson@cityofbrookings-sd.gov.