Posted: September 11, 2018
When Lorain County Community College (LCCC) officials started looking at replacing the institution’s original library that opened in 1975, they realized they had an opportunity to create something that served not only the campus but the broader community as well.
“We decided that a holistic approach to serving our entire community would put the resources of both libraries where everyone could benefit,” said LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “We wanted to be sure that everyone could have access to the advanced learning and technology resources available to compete in a global environment.”
So LCCC partnered with the Elyria Public Library System (EPLS) and the idea of a combined college and community library – born out of the College’s visioning plan – became reality in 2008. The College and EPLS marked the 10-year anniversary of the combined library with a modest celebration on September 10, wherein the library provided an opportunity for all library users to tell their stories and give suggestions to the library. The library also offered to waive overdue fines for those who attended.
The 86,000-square-foot, three-story library includes a branch of the EPLS, formerly called North Branch but newly dubbed the EPLS@LCCC location, in the library’s first floor “Community Living Room.” EPLS@LCCC has the latest fiction, children’s materials, computers, movies and music. The remainder of the public library’s collection is interfiled on the second and third floors among the College’s book collections.
It is the first college library in Ohio to house a branch of a local public library. The Ohio Library Council agreed that LCCC and EPLS had created a unique facility and awarded the library its Library Innovation Award in 2009.
“Together LCCC and the EPLS have created a space and a place for everyone to find resources geared to their level of need, no matter what that level happens to be on any given day. The traditional barriers of library service are being stretched, tested and redefined to the benefit of our community,” said Lyn Crouse, director of the EPLS.
The library’s name – The Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center – also recognizes the commitment of the Bass family to education, community and family. The Bass family’s long-term support of LCCC and the LCCC Foundation through support of student scholarships made it an easy decision for the LCCC Board of Trustees to name the library in their honor.
In only the past five years, the library circulated approximately 102,800 EPLS library books and media and an additional 81,000 items from other public libraries through CLEVNET. Lorain County community members have also checked out over 10,000 LCCC library items, not including the wealth of resources accessed through OhioLINK, the state-wide network of university and college libraries.
In its 10 years of serving the community, the library created over 1,600 EPLS library cards to the campus and local community and over 2,700 LCCC library cards for community members with thousands more created for LCCC students, staff, and faculty. The community sought help from both the EPLS and LCCC librarians, asking approximately 6,700 reference questions a year.
The Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center features:
- Innovation in Technology
One of the library’s distinguishing features is its Information Commons on the second floor that provides access to technology through abundant computer stations and wireless laptops. A smart classroom also connects learning and technology on the second floor, and numerous technology-enabled group study rooms provide quiet space for learning.
- Innovation in Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurs have access to a suite of business databases that give comprehensive information and support to them at all stages of their business development. While on campus they can connect to additional services at the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) business incubator.
- Innovation in Education Services
Students entering LCCC have easy access to admissions, registration, financial aid and other student services all in the first floor “Main Street” of the library. It’s a convenient one-stop point of entry to the College and all that it offers.
- Innovation in Discovery
The library provides the latest in reference resources to enhance discovery, both on-site and via the Internet, to support work across all academic disciplines. The library partners with other universities and colleges throughout the state to bring diverse materials to the residents of Lorain County via the OhioLINK network. EPLS provides residents with access to regional resources via CLEVENET public.