NORMAN — The Pioneer Library System will buy the former Borders bookstore property in west Norman to house its administrative offices, including its collection system, Director Anne Masters said.
The board of trustees approved the purchase for $1.6 million in a special meeting a week ago, she said.
Money for the purchase of the 25,000-square-foot building will come from the library system's reserve account, Masters said.
Several options are being considered for the use of the building, including using a portion of the building to consolidate administrative offices currently housed in multiple locations, Masters said.
Some of the administrative offices now operate out of the Norman Public Library and others occupy space in the former Hollywood Theater at 1210 McGee Drive, which also serves as the Pioneer Services Center.
The Borders building also may be used as a west Norman library service point, which could allow consolidation of Pioneer-provided library services such as the book box and book lockers currently available at Sooner Mall, Masters said.
“The system has been saving for an opportunity like this. The location, design and architectural features of the former bookstore are ideally suited to the needs of the library system,” Masters said.
The city of Norman has provided space and utilities, other than telephone service, for Pioneer's administrative offices since 1962.
“We look forward to talking with the city about potential uses and a continued partnership,” Masters said.
Since 2001, the Pioneer Library System has leased the former Hollywood Theatre for its Pioneer Service Center. The service center houses the system's Collections Services, which include materials selection, acquisitions, materials cataloging and processing and delivery of materials throughout the system.
The collection of more than 600,000 items in the system is shared through delivery routes that run six days a week and are based out of the service center.
The Borders' location, 300 Norman Center Court, has loading docks and proximity to Interstate 35, which makes it ideal for material transfers, Masters said.
The purchase also will provide financial benefits for the library in the long run, she said.
The system will save leasing fees of about $66,000 a year once the current lease of Hollywood Theater runs out in April, Masters said.
The Pioneer Library System operates branch libraries in nine cities in Cleveland, McClain and Pottawatomie counties. It also operates information stations in rural communities and offers book drops and pickups in Norman's Sooner Mall, the Shawnee Mall and the B&B Country Store in east Norman.