Freeport Public Library plans expansion

Story and photo by STACY MARTIN

The Freeport Library is in the early stages of planning for expansion. At 4,500 sq ft., the library currently serves 12,000 to 14,000 people within the city of Freeport and the surrounding communities. To meet the guidelines with the current population they serve, the library is looking at adding 5,100 sq. ft. for a total of 9,600 sq. ft.   

Caitlin Cerise, Freeport’s branch manager, states, “We have outgrown our space, and would like to grow our existing library by 5,100 sq. ft. in order to meet the square feet per capita guidelines outlined by the Florida Library Association. “ 

Along with books, the library has a large number of resources available to the public. The Freeport branch currently has a 3D printer as well as a die-cut machine that is free and available for public use. 

“The modern-day library is changing from what it was when we were growing up,” said Chase Barfield, president of the Friends of the Freeport Public Library. He added that the library has become more of a community resource center, with multiple tools for living.

  With the expansion, the library will be better able to accommodate its current resources, as well as add additional services to the public. The library plans to make expansions to the children’s area, adding a larger conference room, office spaces, individual quiet reading areas, and a maker-space room, which will allow for computer labs, programming, and technology. Tools such as microscopes, telescopes, and baking tools such as pasta makers, all centered on education and access, are possible additions to the library. “Resources don’t just include books, they include technology and other sorts of libraries of things,” said Cerise.  

Friends of Freeport Public Library (FFPL), a non-profit 501c3, has re-organized and is helping raise awareness and funds to contribute to the expansion of the library. 

To raise money for the library, the FFPL offers memberships and donation perks for individuals, businesses, and organizations. The Circle of 100 is one opportunity to give to the FFPL in support of the library. For the first 100 individuals, organizations, and businesses to donate $1,000.00 will be recognized in all FFPL promotions as well as a permanently acknowledged in the newly expanded facility. 

All of the funds raised through FFPL events, sponsors, and membership fees help support the Freeport Branch Library exclusively. For more information about the Friends of the Freeport Library, contact Chase Barfield at info@ffpl.org or (850) 678-9191.