Southlake Library Task Force presents options for new library, seeks public input at town hall meeting

The Southlake library is currently located on the first floor of City Hall. (Samantha Van Dyke/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Southlake library is currently located on the first floor of City Hall. (Samantha Van Dyke/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Southlake library is currently located on the first floor of City Hall. (Samantha Van Dyke/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Southlake’s Library Task Force held a town hall meeting May 11 where residents could voice their thoughts on preliminary plans for a new library.

The Southlake Library Task Force was created a few months ago, Mayor John Huffman said, with the intention to review options and make recommendations for a new Southlake library facility.

The Southlake Library opened in 2001 and currently resides on the first floor of city hall, though this was never meant to be a permanent location, Director of Human Resources Stacey Black said during a presentation at the town hall meeting.

According to the presentation, the task force divided into subcommittees and focused on four project management categories – site location, library facility, complimentary amenities and finance and budget.

The task force presented its top three site suggestions, located at Carillon Parc, Parkwood Drive and Bicentennial Park. Each location was scored based on a number of factors, including size, visibility, accessibility and public acceptance, according to the presentation. A list of pros and cons for each location was also presented.

The task force ranked Carillon Parc first, citing the location’s walkable, mixed-use environment, expected increase in population density and its proximity to SH 114 as positive factors.

Bicentennial Park was ranked second, with benefits including the fact that the site is on city-owned property, has mature trees and outdoor space and has the highest population density of all three sites.

Parkwood Drive was ranked last, though the task force noted a number of benefits, including overflow parking availability, existing sidewalks and the site’s ability to accommodate a multipurpose facility, according to the presentation.

Residents were able to talk with the task force in an open house event before the presentation and then offer comments once the presentation concluded.

While Parkwood Drive was rated the lowest, residents in attendance spoke in favor of that location more than either of the other sites, with many mentioning its convenient proximity as a big draw. Residents also expressed concern with the Carillon Parc site, mentioning the location's distance from schools, lack of parking and slow development of the area in general. However, online submissions included in the presentation showed support for a Carillon Parc site with one suggesting a library there would serve as a great anchor for the area.

Task force members also presented priority for the space itself. A 2021 library study from the city indicated residents wanted an expanded collection area, customer-friendly configuration and seating and convenient parking and access to the library as the top priorities for the space. Lesser priorities included a cafe space, outdoor space and integrated technology, according to the presentation.

Task force subcommittees toured and studied surrounding and out-of-state libraries as well as art and entertainment centers like the Irving Arts Center. Interactive art, outdoor living spaces, gardens and water features could all serve as additional enhancements to the library, according to the presentation.

Funding options presented by the task force included grants, donations and the city’s capital improvement program, though task force member and City Council member Chad Patton stressed that the city does “not believe there will be an increase in property taxes in association with our efforts to deliver the library.”

The Library Task Force will hold a second town hall meeting on May 16 with the same format. An open house will be from 4:30-6 p.m. at City Hall, 1400 Main St., Southlake, with a presentation and public comments to follow. The task force will then assemble the information received from the public and through its research to the library board, which will meet May 25. On June 7 the library board and task force will present recommendations to the City Council.

More information on the Library Task Force as well as ways to submit comments can be found here.
By Samantha Van Dyke
Samantha Van Dyke is Community Impact's DFW Metro Reporter. She previously served as managing editor of The Arkansas Traveler.