By Maggie Callaghan, For The Miami Student

The Oxford community celebrated the grand opening of the new Lane Library Oxford branch on Saturday, located across from Kroger on Locust St.

The 24,000 square foot, two-story building offers a children’s area, teen zone, activity space and a media rental area on the first floor. The second floor houses an adult book section, meetings and study rooms.

The new site expanded its children’s area, enlarged the technology collection for public access and added new books to the collection by recycling some books that have not gone through circulation in a while.

Justyn Rampa, the assistant branch manager, said plans for a new library have been underway since 2011.

“It’s been a very long process…” said Rampa, who has been working for the library for many years.

The Lane Library Oxford branch was previously located at 151 S. College Avenue, which is Uptown across from the Oxford Historical Center. According to Rampa, the old building needed additional renovations on top of the renovations the building had already undergone for years.

“The community board believed that nothing else could be done at the previous location,” Rampa said.

Plans and designs started after spending several weeks with community members to figure out what Oxford residents wanted at the new library.

The community board narrowed down available locations given the amount of land the new construction site would need and held a meeting where community members voted on a location. Rampa said because of the limited locations available in Oxford, there were some challenges finding a location that could accommodate the size of the new building. However, everyone at the branch seemed pleased with the new location.

“[This location] has so much more to offer,” Rampa said.

But Miami students are not totally convinced that the new library will be able to compete with the libraries on Miami’s campus.

“It’s a lot smaller than I expected,” said junior Michael Nash.

Another junior Jack Strouss agreed and said he wished the library offered more study rooms for students.

However, many Oxford residents have welcomed the new library and are excited about what the new location can offer the community

“Oh yeah, [this library] will be a lot more popular than the other one. It has a lot more of everything,” said Talawanda High School senior, Kiersten Whitmire.

In addition to the new Lane Library, the Smith Library of Regional History also has an expanded space. Smith Library, which has been open since 1981 as a division of the Lane Library branches, collects historical artifacts, with a concentrated focus on censuses, according to the Smith Library of Regional History’s homepage.

From regional townships within Butler County, there are artifacts that date all the way back to the 19th century. The library offers numerous programs and events for local residents, many free of charge.

It is still unclear what will happen to the vacated building Uptown. But many Oxford residents believe the new location is much more fitting.

“It’s so much closer. I’m in walking distance now,” Whitmire said.

This is the third Lane Library branch, with other locations in Hamilton and Fairfield.

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