February 16, 2018

Branching Out | November 1, 2015

The Chicago Public Library opened its new Chinatown Branch in late August. Replacing a rental space, the 16,370 square foot, two-story facility was created by the firms Wight & Company and Skidmore Owings and Merrill, as the system’s first design/build project. The $19.1 million branch, funded through the 24th/Michigan TIF (tax increment financing) District, is constructed of steel and glass and features a “living” roof and native plantings, a central atrium, a large reading room, a digital media space for teens, and an early literacy and learning area. Respecting local culture, the interior follows feng shui design principles of balance and harmony.

The Hoover Public Library, AL, reopened on September 12, following a monthlong renovation to the 85,000 square foot 1983 structure. The extensive makeover includes new paint and flooring, an updated color scheme, and enhanced computer workstations with accessible wire management, according to the Hoover Sun. The $350,000 project encompassed upgrades to the children’s section, which features new furnishings and flooring. The work was facilitated by the Pennington Group, with project management by Barry Davis Architects and interior design from Laura Harchelroad.

St. Louis County Library’s (SLCL) $120+ million Your Library Renewed Campaign will see 19 branches of the SLCL system either placed or remodeled. One of the first facilities to be completed is the new Lewis & Clark Branch, which opened on October 14 after a one-year construction effort. The 20,000 square foot facility, designed by KAI Design & Build, includes an enlarged children’s area featuring discovery-themed activities, a business center, three distinct computing areas, a community meeting room outfitted with audiovisual and presentation equipment, three study rooms, and an expanded teen zone. The original stained glass panels depicting Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their guide ­Sacagawea, created by Emil Frei & Associates, were reinstalled in the new structure. The $6.5 million project was funded through a 2012 referendum.

The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Library at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, completed phase two of a renovation that began last summer. The $20 million project launched with work on the first floor and has now finished on the second-floor information commons, just in time for the start of the fall semester. The 86,000 square foot library opened in 1994, and students were surveyed in late 2013 about changes they would like to see. The number of seats increased by 50 percent, from 206 to 310, accomplished in part by reducing the size of computer desks. The entire building received new paint, flooring, and furnishings. Amenities include more printers, scanners, and copiers, plus an increased capacity to study areas. Additionally, the library installed 76 desktop computers. The third floor will get its turn at a remodel in summer 2016.–Bette-Lee Fox

This article was published in Library Journal's November 1, 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.