February 17, 2018

Branching Out, July 2016

Alpine Library Photo courtesy of San Diego County Library

Alpine Library
Photo courtesy of San Diego County Library

A new library opened in San Diego County in May. The 12,700 square foot Alpine Library, four times larger than its predecessor, is the first zero net energy (ZNE) building in the county, defined as “an energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy.” The $10.2 million project encompasses automated checkout/return systems, a MakerBot 3-D printer, study rooms, a resource program and exhibit space, a Discover Zone early learning area, and dedicated spaces for tweens and teens. The effort, which began in 2009, was completed by the design-build team of C.W. Driver, Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects, and Manuel Oncina Architects.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum reopened on June 7 following an eight-month, $13 million renovation. The 44,000 square foot facility, dedicated in 1981, is located near the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI. The project included the construction of the 8,000 square foot, two-story DeVos Learning Center and a number of technology upgrades and interactive displays.

The new Havre de Grace Library, part of the Harford County Public Library, MD, opened on June 15. The 18-month effort cost $9.1 million and resulted in a 19,846 square foot, two-story building designed by Manns Woodward Studios. Replacing an 8,000 square foot branch, the new library features a trio of dedicated spaces for area youngsters. According to the Baltimore Sun, the facility will encompass a teen zone, the interactive Lafayette’s Landing for elementary and middle schoolers, and the Schooner Cove early literary center for children up to five years of age. Schooner Cove was designed by James Bradberry Architects and fabricated by Capitol Museum Services. Adults shouldn’t feel neglected, as the second floor will house a business center in addition to their main reading space.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), OH, opened its new Parsons Branch on June 4. Part of CML’s ten-project aspirational building program, Parsons is 19,000 square feet, more than twice the size of its predecessor, originally built in 1956 and the smallest facility in the 23-branch system. A year in the making, the new library includes a larger Homework Help Center, a dedicated Ready for Kindergarten area, an enlarged community gathering space, and lots of glass, allowing for natural light. The new facility, designed by Moody Nolan, stretches across two blocks.

Progress has been slow in Peter­borough, Ont., for the renovations to the 40,000 square foot 1982 main branch of the Peterborough Public Library (PPL), which have been in the works since 2012. The $12 million project, a renovation and 9,300 square foot expansion under the auspices of the Ventin Group architects, is about to begin now that the facility has been relocated temporarily to a smaller space within the Peterborough Square mall. Delighted that the long-overdue plan was finally getting started, the town held a ribbon cutting at the new site on May 19. PPL had applied for a $1 million Canadian federal grant as part of $150 million in infrastructure upgrades celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial. The grant was denied.

June 1 marked the opening of the new Varina Area Library, Richmond, a member of the Henrico County Public Library. The 43,885 square foot facility, more than eight times the size of the former library, is composed of glass, wood, and metal, according to ­Richmond.com, to complement its 22.11-acre site. The $28.1 million project encompasses a digital media lab with 3-D printers; a drive-up service window and book return; a large, dedicated teen space and a dedicated children’s area; group collaboration spaces; a large meeting room with state-of-the-art technology; a conference room; a quiet reading room; study rooms; more public computers; and a demonstration kitchen. Tappé Architects of Boston teamed with Richmond-based firm BCWH Architects. This is the final construction effort covered by a 2005 referendum.

This article was published in Library Journal's July 1, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Celebrating her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ’s Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews.