Driving Park

Jane Hawes
Driving Park branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

The Driving Park branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library opened to quite a bit of publicity in July 2014. It has even been featured in The Atlantic, a national magazine.

And with families scrambling to find new libraries to visit, now that the Main Library in the CML system has shuttered until next year (while a massive renovation project is completed), Driving Park is definitely an option.

The modern design of the building is a standout along a stretch of Livingston Avenue where many positive changes are taking place in the neighborhood one mile east of Nationwide Children's Hospital. The Driving Park branch has a long, rectangular floor plan and the south-facing wall is almost entirely glass, making for a very open and spacious feel.

A decent-sized parking lot (most easily accessed off Kelton Avenue on the library's east side) sits on the north side of the building. Once inside, I immediately noticed the children's area. It features one of CML's Ready for Kindergarten areas, recognizable for its play school bus and SMART board. The six stationary iPads, set up for use here (at the level of a small child), are very popular with the young clientele.

There doesn't appear to be a large book collection in the area. In fact the library, as a whole, seems to be more focused on facilitating community gatherings and activity rather than providing books, magazines or other media to check out. The Homework Help area, open 3 to 6 p.m. every weekday during the school year, is nearly as large as the children's area, and is well-staffed and well used by patrons.

The teen area, on the opposite end of the building, features high-top tables and chairs. In between these two areas are numerous study rooms, a quiet room and even a computer lab run by Columbus State Community College.

I also was struck by how much interaction anyone entering the library has with staff, which does include security. While visiting one weekday afternoon, I was approached several times by staff members, curious to know what I needed.