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New central library groundbreaking set for May 30

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Renderings of Austin new central library show a six-story building directly across from the hike and bike trail and Lady Bird Lake. There will be a sunlit atrium, rooftop garden, outdoor reading porches overlooking the lake and a kids' area. There will also be a cafe and a bike garage. It's a place Austin resident and parent Jennifer Kirsch is looking forward to visiting.

"It's such an incredible service for anyone and I would say the stage I'm in with kids, it's a fantastic place to go and be."

"What the new central library means for the community is all sorts of amenities that the current central library has not been able to provide," says Tim Staley, the Executive Director of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation which helps raise funds to improve library facilities.

The close to $100 million approved by the Austin City Council to build the library will come from a 2006 bond package. It will replace the John Henry Faulk Central Library on Guadalupe, which library-goers say has become outdated.

"I think it's not big enough, there's too many people and they need a bigger one," said Austin resident Ceara Carr.

Some residents have also been deterred by the homeless population that can often be found at the downtown library.

"When you have little kids around, multiple children with you, it's harder to get in and out and when there's people hanging out outside. It's a little more intimidating than if you're by yourself," said Kirsch.

Crime at the central library has also been a concern, but one that planners of the new library will work to put an end to.

"It is an issue, but one that the Austin public library will certainly address in an effort to make everyone feel welcome and safe," saidStaley.

He adds that it will be a place every resident will want to visit.

"It's a hub of various cultural activities for the entire community. There will be things going on at the new central library for every member of the Austin community."

There will be a ground-breaking ceremony May 30. The library is scheduled to open in 2016.

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