Arrowhead library hub to move to Milton

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Neil Johnson
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

MILTON—What is now the Milton City Council chambers will become the new home of Arrowhead Library System's central offices, the city of Milton announced.

Milton Mayor Brett Frazier announced Arrowhead, Rock County's library system, plans to lease the current council chambers and other space in the lower level of the Shaw Municipal Building at 430 E. High St.

A lease was agreed on in a closed session and approved by the city council Tuesday night. Arrowhead plans to vacate 2,200 square feet of space it now leases at the former U.S. Post Office at 210 Dodge St. in Janesville.

Arrowhead, which serves seven libraries in the county, including Hedberg Library in Janesville and libraries in Milton, Edgerton and Beloit, will use the space in the Shaw building for its five administrative staff members, and as the central hub for RockCat, Arrowhead's countywide book and material exchange system.

The move to the Shaw building, which Arrowhead System director Steve Platteter said will happen in July 2014, places the Arrowhead's central offices in the same building as Milton Public Library, which is one of the busiest libraries in the county. 

The two-story Shaw building now houses the library and Milton City Hall, but the city plans to move the city hall funcations to the former Dean medical building at 710 S. Janesville St., which the city is renovating and building out for a combined police station/city hall.

That project is slated for completion by June. The city plans to turn over the entire Shaw building to the library. The library and the city are working on plans to expand the library to both floors at the Shaw building.

The city has budgeted $155,000 for renovations for that expansion, and the library's board and its foundation are working on plans to raise money for other parts of the project, which will include more space for library users and conference rooms for the library and the public, city officials have said.

Platteter said Arrowhead has been in talks with the city since September on a lease. He said the Shaw building has better physical access than its current location in Janesville for moving the 20,000 books and materials the system transfers to libraries each week.

Arrowhead also serves as a clearinghouse for the state for book transfers to schools and local nursing homes.

Platteter said the move also will allow Arrowhead staff to link into the RockCat system through Milton Public Library's existing computer network, which will make the transfer of books and materials more efficient.

Arrowhead also will share conference rooms at the library, which is now on the ground floor of the building.

Frazier said the city won't immediately have to renovate city council chambers for Arrowhead to move in.

“We could make some upgrades, but it (council chambers) could function fine as is. They (Arrowhead) could move in now,” Frazier said.

He said the city and the library board earlier debated whether to put a permanent bookstore in council chambers once the city moves out, but he said the city had then developed plans to offer the space up.

“If this (lease) hadn't happened, we'd have had a 2,400-square-foot vacancy we'd still have had to find a use for,” Frazier said.

Because the library expansion is planned on the ground level and second floors of the Shaw building, Arrowhead's location downstairs won't affect the library's expansion plans

Frazier said Arrowhead's move to the Shaw building gives the library a leg up on efficiency for its own users and solidifies the library, which had 80,000 visitors last year as one of the cornerstone libraries in the county.

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