Albany Public Library, NY, Board of Trustees refinanced $29.1 million in bonds to improve five branches; the Ashtabula County District Library, OH, reopened; Clark Art Institute’s Manton Research Center, Williamstown, MA, was completed; and more new construction and renovation news from the January 1, 2017 issue of Library Journal.
Starting in 2017, 15 small and rural public libraries from across the United States will participate in the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project, an 18-month training program aimed at reimagining and reconfiguring libraries to support active learning, foster social connections, and be places of continued discovery. The project will lead participating libraries through four stages of training, help them to develop an online cohort, and connect their work to the profession at large. Led by a project team of WebJunction, a program of OCLC Research, the project is funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). Participating libraries will receive $5,000 toward their space redesigns.
On October 14 architect Maya Lin unveiled her plans for the new William Allan Neilson Library at Smith College, Northampton, MA. The drawings and model for the extensive renovation of the library, which will include upgrades and alterations to the original building and the replacement of two previous additions, were met with approval by the gathering of students, faculty, and administration at Smith’s Sweeney Concert Hall—not surprising, as they were only part of a years-long visioning process that involved thousands of the college’s community members from campus to town.
This year’s selection of library construction efforts are each unique in their own way, but most share a significant guiding principle: keep it open. The 105 capital projects completed between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, exemplify a dedication to the totality of users’ experience with regard to sight lines, maneuverability, accessibility, and natural light but also in consideration of others’ ideas, needs, and potential. With atria, lots of glass, and coworking and group study spaces, libraries are indeed open for business.