Monday, August 31, 2009

Size of the New Library

On August 27, the Library Board received the report from Kathy Page from Page + Moris with the recommendations for the size of the new library. A formal report should be available next month.

The consultant gave detailed information on the community and what is needed in a new library. In a nutshell the new library is planned to be at least 60,000 square feet. It will provide more than three times the amount of seating currently available, computers will more than triple- there are 31 available now and the plan calls for 105. There will be small and large meeting space- including a large meeting room with capacity of 175-200 people and six to eight smaller rooms for groups of 6-12. The new library will include ample space for children, youths and teens, including programming space for different ages. The area for books will increase to 183,000 volumes- an increase of 60,000 books, magazines or other media.

In the community survey and interviews people said loud and clear...more technology and more books!

Below are more details of the presentation whose purpose was to:
  • Identify Carson City residents’ library space needs
  • Assess current library facility’s ability to meet needs
  • Recommend service levels through 2030
  • Recommend square footage needed to accommodate the needs

The methodology for the study included:

  • Stakeholder and community interviews
  • Library staff interviews
  • Analyze demographic trends
  • Identify projected population
  • Study library usage + collection patterns
  • Observe + assess current facility
  • Compare to current industry trends
  • Develop recommendations

Ms. Page told the Board and audeince that Carson City is growing, will reach 70,000 by 2030. The current Library was built when the population was 15,500, and the addiiton for a population of 32,000. The size of the library has been inadequate for at least 20 years.

Demographic trends suggest children + youth make up 25% population and will continue to grow as the City grows. Seniors are 15% and also expected to increase. Hispanic residents more than doubled since 1990, they now represent 19% of population. Non-native English speakers also increasing - 15% speak another language at home. The Carson City median income level is less than state average - $50,000- compared to the state average of $53,750. However the educational attainment reflects state average – 80% high school graduates; 20% college graduates.

To people that use the Library her findings about the facilities limitations are no surprise:

  • 21,532 sq. feet- too small
  • Lack of space + seating
  • Noise + congestion are disruptive, create conflict
  • Shelving at capacity – collections cannot grow, still-useful materials withdrawn
  • Lack of browsability + access
  • Too few computers - more needed for every age level
  • Lack of flexibility in electrical distribution
  • Few outlets for laptop plug-in
  • Lack of computer training space
  • Conflicts with other users
  • Meeting room too small
  • Friends’ book store further erodes space, ambiance
  • Meeting room lacks appropriate storage, kitchen, AV Noise spills into other areas
  • Storytelling space blocks access to collection
  • Awkward layout adds to noise + discomfort
  • Access to children’s + teen spaces through adult area
  • Service desks have large footprint, noise spills into public space
  • Children’s + teen spaces need separation
  • Staff work spaces congested, erode productivity, prevent concentration at tasks
  • Main workroom remote from public service point
  • Inadequate space for deliveries, receiving, shipping
  • Inadequate storage space

To deal with the limitations the library has these needs for space:

  • Space for people
  • Space for resources
  • Space to incorporate current + emerging service trends
  • Space to support an efficient, productive staff
  • Space for complementary services + amenities

The specific recommendations are for seating, shelving, technology/computers, and better ways to serve the public, and also to provide some ways for the library to generate more of its own funding. Specifically the plan calls for:

Increased seating:

  • Distributed by activity + noise level
  • Quiet reading areas
  • Parent/child seats
  • Teen area
  • Table seats / laptop perches
  • Areas for both individual + collaboration/group study
  • “Commons” space

Increased shelving capacity:

  • Browsable display shelving for books and media
  • Stack-end display
  • Factor in growth of electronic collections
  • Now = shelving for 120,000 items (2.1 volumes/capita)
  • Recommended = shelving for 183,000 items (2.6 volumes/capita)

More computers:

  • Distributed for access by all age levels
  • Online catalog stations located at key book stack areas
  • Enclosed computer training space
  • Plentiful laptop plug-in access
  • Now = 31 workstations (0.53 computers/1,000 people)
  • Recommended = 105 workstations (1.5 workstations/1,000 people)

Increased meeting space:

  • Larger major meeting room
  • Dividable space
  • Appropriate storage, kitchen, AV system
  • Separate, dedicated retail space for Friends’-operated book store
  • Dedicated children’s programming space adjacent to Youth Services area
  • Secondary meeting room
  • Now = meeting room seats 50 to 60
  • Recommended = 175 seats

Customer Service Points:

  • Self checkout for most circulation transactions
  • Self service holds
  • Self-service returns that empty into sorting room
  • Automated materials handling equipment
  • Compact, efficient service desks
  • Staff equipped with mobile telecommunications devices

More efficient staff work space:

  • Efficient sorting + returns operation
  • Work rooms located close to staff work assignments
  • Delivery + shipping located adjacent to delivery entrance
  • Ergonomic desks and work counters
  • Sufficient storage for supplies, equipment

Friends Book Store:

  • Larger, well-designed retail space for books + other sale items
  • High visibility location at entrance
  • Appropriately sized work space for sorting donations

Cafe/Other Amenities:

  • Space to eat, drink + socialize
  • Gallery space for art exhibits
  • Outdoor reading courtyard
  • Business Resource Center
  • Connections to other institutions – museums, retail shops, etc.

And all of that equates to:

60,000 square feet of space

Two floors

0.85 SF per capita for 2030 population

The Board accepted Ms. Page's report noting that they wanted to insure this was an adequate sized building and when built would last Carson City through whatever the final population is in the next 30-50 years. The Library Director indicated she believed it was, it would be large enough for now and the future yet a size that would not be a huge burden to operate both from energy use, but more importantly from a human resource perspective since additional full time library employees are unlikely to be possible for many years to come.

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