Library Design Showcase 2012: Small Projects, Big Impact

February 28, 2012

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Perhaps it’s a reflection of the economic times, or perhaps it’s just an example of librarian ingenuity stretching always-scarce dollars, but a significant number of submissions this year were for relatively small projects that provided a light makeover to an existing library or carved out a zone to target some specific need. This section of the Library Design Showcase includes projects with a price tag of under $1 million that have a big benefit to their libraries.

Plainfield (N.J.) Public Library

Small Projects, Big Impact: A rainforest theme carries through the renovation of Plainfield Public Library’s Children’s Library, which serves a community with no movie theater or themed recreational sites. Thatched huts provide quiet reading areas, while a built-in puppet stage is camouflaged within a 60-foot rainforest mural. The space can also accommodate up to 80 children viewing movies on a drop-down screen without rearranging furniture.

Renovation
Architect: Dennis Kowal Architects
Size: 5,000 sq. ft. renovated, 44,000 sq. ft. total
Cost: $600,000
Photo: Peter Rajcevic

Franklin Lakes (N.J.) Public Library

Small Projects, Big Impact: Franklin Lakes Public Library renovated the entrance to its children’s room to make it more enticing to children and parents. Oversized books and bright colors bring children’s literature to life.

Renovation
Designer: Janice Davis Design LLC
Size: N/A
Cost: $31,000
Photo: Chelsea Davis Images

San Diego County Library, San Marcos Branch

Small Projects, Big Impact: The San Marcos Branch had outgrown its facility but did not have any space it could expand into. By merging circulation and reference into a single service point, the library was able to reconfigure 600 square feet into public service space for a self-service area. The renovation also created an enclosed teen space and two quiet study rooms, and refreshed the children’s area and meeting room.

Renovation
Architect: domusstudio architecture
Size: 15,394 sq. ft.
Cost: $115,000
Photo: San Diego County Library

Champaign (Ill.) Public Library, Douglass Branch

Small Projects, Big Impact: A remodeling project at the Douglas Branch created a computer lab, as well as a new circulation desk and photocopying area. The project also added lighted shelving for new books and updated interior décor.

Renovation
Architect: Gorski Reifsteck
Size: 7,000 sq. ft.
Cost: $225,289
Photo: Benjamin Lapid Photography

Fayetteville (Ark.) Public Library

Small Projects, Big Impact: The new Otwell Teen Library at Fayetteville Public Library incorporates major increases in shelving for teen materials; seating for teens; and computing resources, which grew from five PCs to 25, plus three collaborative workstations. A project room accommodates eight people and has modular furniture, a whiteboard for brainstorming, and easily cleanable linoleum floors. Fabrics, countertops, and decorative panels all incorporate recycled content, and all post-construction materials were recycled.

Renovation and Expansion
Architect: Kohler Design Office, Inc.; Missi Walker Interiors
Size: 2,350 sq. ft. expansion, 88,000 sq. ft. total
Cost: $286,500
Photo: Philip Steele, Novo Studio LLC

Upper Darby (Pa.) Township and Sellers Memorial Free Public Library, Municipal Branch

Small Projects, Big Impact: The new Municipal Branch replaces a heavily used, one-room branch library in an underserved part of the system’s area. The new building is in a residential area, and its site limited the size of the building. By positioning the building at the end of the lot, the project was able to provide parking and save all but one tree. Exterior finishes are similar to those of neighboring houses, allowing the library to look like it belongs in the neighborhood.

New Construction
Architect: Casaccio Architects
Size: 4,000 sq. ft.
Cost: $800,000
Photo: Upper Darby Township and Sellers Memorial Free Library

Bridge City (Tex.) Elementary School Library

Small Projects, Big Impact: Custom artwork and furnishings at Bridge City Elementary’s library incorporate the school’s cardinal mascot and a transportation theme. Custom crate seating surrounds the clock tower with its integrated puppet stage, while locomotive cars provide upholstered seating around the Storytime Stage.

New Construction
Architect: Mark Magnuson & Associates, Inc.
Design: Creative Arts Unlimited
Size: 3,662 sq. ft.
Cost: $225,000 (library elements only)
Photo: Contrax staff photographer

Levi Yitzchak Children’s Library, Cedarhurst, New York

Small Projects, Big Impact: The Levi Yitzchak Children’s Library is a privately funded library for Jewish children’s books that is open to the public. Each area is themed: The entrance hallway features lit panels showing the six days of creation, a Mitzvah Train provides reading nooks, a Torah scroll bulletin board exhibits children’s work, and a puppet theater evokes the Jubilee Synagogue in Prague.

New Construction
Designer: Janice Davis Design LLC
Size: 3,200 sq. ft.
Cost: $145,000 (décor)
Photo: Chelsea Davis Images

Austin (Tex.) Public Library, Southeast Austin Community Branch

Small Projects, Big Impact: Renovation of the Southeast Community Branch introduced a new palette of colors and reoriented stacks to improve sight lines. The project upgraded voice and data lines, and added a laptop counter and more electrical outlets to serve laptop users. All installed carpet was made of fully recycled materials, and the laptop bar countertop was made from recycled paper

Renovation
Architect: Austin Public Library Facilities Services
Size: 8,300 sq. ft.
Cost: $50,000
Photo: Patrick Huey

Monroe High School Campus, Bronx, New York

Small Projects, Big Impact: Renovation of the Monroe High School Campus Library utilized inviting colors and materials. The redesigned space was organized by zones for different functions, defined by features such as dropped ceilings, soft seating, and freestanding computer pods.

Renovation
Architect: di Domenico + Partners LLP
Size: 3,000 sq. ft.
Cost: $700,000
Photo: Bartelstone

Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, New York

Small Projects, Big Impact: Middle Country Public Library renovated 5,000 square feet into a teen space capable of serving up to 100 teens at a time. The Underground, named for its physical location, has a program room with sliding walls that can be retracted when not in use, a computer area, areas for both quiet work and socialization, and a media counter with charging stations.

Renovation
Architect: Vitetta
Size: 5,000 sq. ft. renovation, 77,000 sq. ft. total
Cost: $417,200
Photo: Dutch Huff Photography

Cliffside Park (N.J.) Free Public Library

Small Projects, Big Impact: The Cliffside Park Free Public Library stands on land that was once part of the Palisades Amusement Park. The renovated entrance to the children's room nods to history with a roller coaster, Ferris wheel cars, and ticket booths all fashioned to resemble books.

Renovation
Design: Janice Davis Design LLC
Size: N/A
Cost: $29,000
Photo: Chelsea Davis Images

Prince Georges County (Md.) Memorial Library System, Spauldings Branch

Small Projects, Big Impact: The renovation of the Spauldings Library significantly expanded the children’s area and created a large children’s programming room housed behind a barn façade with a special child-sized entrance. The renovation added computer stations for both children and adults, improved lighting throughout, and introduced slat walls on the Wi-Fi bar and in the teen zone to serve as marketing and display space.

Renovation
Architect: Gant Brunnett Architects
Size: 23,600 sq. ft.
Cost: $867,000
Photo: Karl Connolly

 Plainfield (N.J.) Public Library
 Franklin Lakes (N.J.) Public Library
 San Diego County Library, San Marcos Branch
 Champaign (Ill.) Public Library, Douglass Branch
 Fayetteville (Ark.) Public Library
 Upper Darby (Pa.) Township and Sellers Memorial Free Public Library, Municipal Branch
 Bridge City (Tex.) Elementary School Library
 Levi Yitzchak Children’s Library, Cedarhurst, New York
 Austin (Tex.) Public Library, Southeast Austin Community Branch
 Monroe High School Campus, Bronx, New York
 Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, New York
 Cliffside Park (N.J.) Free Public Library
 Prince Georges County (Md.) Memorial Library System, Spauldings Branch