A bigger library is a better library
July 25, 2012
Our Pitkin County Library is a treasured community asset, enjoyed by locals, part-time residents and visitors of all ages. However, a lot has changed since our library was originally designed and built. Libraries have evolved dramatically, and they are much more now than repositories for books.
Just take a look at the calendar of events on the website Pitco
lib.org to see the myriad events taking place in July! Imagine how much more the community will benefit once the new community meeting room becomes a reality.
No more claustrophobia in a low-ceiling basement room! There will be opportunities to meet before and after the regular library hours and a view toward the Galena Street Plaza open space and an innovative connection to the main library floor because there will be a moveable “wall” between the meeting room and the main floor. There will also be opportunities to use the meeting room as a stage with the audience a few steps below in the main library. Our library receives calls daily from individuals, nonprofits, government groups and small businesses looking for meeting space.
Just walk upstairs during the school year to see how many middle and high schoolers are sharing the space with other patrons at the tables scattered throughout the mezzanine. The seven planned enclosed study spaces will provide privacy for collaborative learning and research as well as additional meeting space for literacy and tutoring programs. Preteens and teens will welcome the additional space planned for them upstairs. I’m looking forward to using the new indoor and outdoor reading areas accessible from the mezzanine with views of Galena Plaza and Red Mountain.
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A very important benefit to the community will be the expanded children’s library, which will include an interactive learning center for the preliterate age group and a dedicated space within the children’s library for story hours and special programming. That will free up the community meeting room for more adult usage. Also, the children will be able to look outside and see the Galena Street Plaza and greenery. Yes, there will be trees! It is our understanding that the most current city proposals for Galena Plaza include the need to remove the existing trees to work on the parking-garage roof, but new trees will be planted in the redesigned plaza. By placing the children’s library on the main floor, there will no longer be patrons walking through the middle of the library on their way to other areas.
Library patrons will enjoy having the fiction, music and multi-media areas conveniently located on the main floor instead of in the basement. I often use the library’s dedicated computer to easily download books to my Kindle and MP3 player.
The planned renovation and addition have been in the works for more than three years. Much thought and planning by the community (12-plus focus groups and several open houses), staff, trustees, architects, planners and consultants have produced a plan that, I believe, will benefit the community far into the future.
Trustee, Pitkin County Library