Yes. Since we last reported on plans to move the library to the Armory (5th St and State St.) a lot of progress has been made, though a great deal of hard work remains.
The Galan Initiatives Foundation (see the Register Star article “Nonprofit’s goal: city’s improvement” -12/31/2011) owns the Armory and offered to partner with the Library in the construction of a new library within the Armory in the 10,000 sq. ft. “drill hall”. The GalVan Foundation will make a large contribution towards the construction costs and then lease the space to the library for 30 years at $12 per year.
Since the initial discussions the Board of the Library and GalVan Initiatives Foundation have held numerous meetings to develop a process to carry out this plan. This resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties that was signed in early January 2012. This document describes the responsibilities of each party and the process to achieve the results desired.
When is this supposed to happen?
We don’t know yet. At this time no firm schedule is available and none will be until the architectural plans are complete and bids for construction received. The Library will remain at 400 State St. until the construction is completed at the Armory. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Library will not move until sometime towards the end of 2013. The library will not close for any extended period of time during the move.
How does a new library get designed?
Library Board has retained the services of a library design consultant, Kimberly Bolan & Associates, LLC (rethinkinglibraries.org) to work with the Board, staff and the community to develop a program for the new library. The program will define the uses, programs, and other functional requirements for the new library. ibrary staff has gathered a large mass of data about our current collections, numbers of patrons, programs, classes, and much more to create a baseline image in numbers of the library.
Another contribution the library design consultant is making is to expose Board members, staff, volunteers, and others to the library of the 21st century. Through pictures and discussion we are beginning to understand what other libraries that have recently renovated, or built anew, have done to meet the many changes in how people use public libraries. Board, staff, and volunteers have engaged in library of the 21st century discussions that have also involved staff from GalVan Initiatives Foundation and a representative of the Mid Hudson Library System.
What role will the community have?
To seek input and involvement from those interested in the new library’s design we will be holding focus group meetings in March. These will involve current library patrons, nonusers, parents and children, adults, teens, representatives from community service organizations, the business community, and local government.
What is the final goal?
The final goal is a modern library that we can all be proud of. All of the inputs described above will be integrated into a final library program document. This will serve as the basis for beginning the architectural planning phase. GalVan Initiatives Foundation is now in the process of selecting an architect in consultation with the library Board.
Based on initial building code review, the new library will have to meet current requirements for energy efficiency, fire detection and suppression, accessibility and more.
We will not know the costs of the project until we have the architectural plans and have asked for construction bids. This may seem a bit strange. For example, when one sets out to build a house or condominium, you can estimate the costs fairly accurately based on the location, size, and style. In the case of a project like the library, there are simply too many unknowns to use these rules of thumb.
Although there is much yet to do, both the Board of the Library and GalVan Initiatives Foundation has set as a primary objective the creation of a new library that will be a great asset for our communities and flexible enough to meet our needs for decades to come. And, given the amazing interior of the Armory, we want the space to arouse a “Wow” when visitors first step inside.