Friday, April 17, 2009

Library Building Program Design Study

He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.
Francis Bacon

We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.
Pogo (Walt Kelly)
Things change. And in the 30 years since our current library was designed, library service has changed a lot. We're in the second year of studying our facility needs. Both year's studies were funded as part of our City capital budget, but with substantial dollars from our Library Foundation under-writing the cost.

Our building study done in 2008 featured lots of community input: surveys, small groups, interviews with community leaders, and public town hall meetings. Altogether about 1,000 community members provided input. The conclusion was that our library needs more space and better functionality, including:
  • More room for materials
  • More room for public seating
  • More meeting room spaces -- easier to set up and maintain and more readily accessible
  • Improved security, including a better designed controlled exit and Radio Frequency ID for materials
  • Technology, including more self-checks and an automated materials handling system to manage workloads
  • Explore a drive-up window and cafe.
  • 21st century services - spaces and connections designed for computers, more computers, shared work spaces, and learning labs
The study concluded that library service needs of this community would be best served by an new building or a major expansion of this building. We're proceeding with caution, particularly in the current economic climate, and don't expect that this would occur for years, but we still need to plan.

This year, we're looking at program design. Thinking about the future of our library, this process will help us define the puzzle pieces, look at assembling them into different pictures, and present alternative building layouts to the Mayor, Library Board, and City Council. We can look at the pros & cons, the cost & value of different models.

In this year's process:
  • We sent out Request for Proposals to:
    • Define an architectural program to meet service needs
    • Develop two conceptual designs: new building, and remodel/expand
  • Fourteen proposals were received
  • Three architectural firms were interviewed
  • Engberg Anderson & George Lawson were hired
  • Engberg Anderson library projects include:
    • Shorewood
    • Two Rivers
    • Cudahy
    • Beloit
    • Brown County – Weyers Hilliard Branch
    • 1994 APL study & preliminary design
The timeline for this year's study:
  • Tour, identify issues, begin worksheets 4/7
  • Complete worksheets 4/8-19
  • Staff interviews & data refinement 4/20-22
  • Review draft program with Library Board Building Committee 5/8
  • Meet with Mayor & City stakeholders 5/11
  • Draft concepts workshop 5/18
  • Concept approval 6/1
  • Present to Library Board & City Council 6/16 &17
And then there are political decisions to be made.
  • Library Building Committee and Board will probably make a recommendation
  • Mayor decides what to put in the Executive Budget
  • Budget approval is up to the City Council – they approve long range capital plans, as well as appropriation for next year
  • Marketing – sharing the story – will be a job for the whole library staff and supporters
  • Any political effort to create community discussion will need leadership from our Friends' group
  • Any project is likely to require significant private dollars. Fundraising through a capital campaign, led by our Library Foundation, will be important – and could start later this year
  • A referendum is a possible way for the community to make a decision, though not it would not be my preference, as it would be expensive in its own right
A final thought, as we move (carefully) forward:
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
Alan Kay

1 comment:

Michael Potter said...

We ARE faced with insurmoutable oppertunities