Branching Out, August 2017

Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, MD, welcomes renovated Bowie Branch; ten Kentucky libraries awarded $20 million in construction funds; Chicago's Newberry Library to get an $11 million renovation; and more new construction and renovation news from the August 1, 2017 issue of Library Journal.

Rendering courtesy of the Newberry Library

Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, MD, welcomed the renovated Bowie Branch on June 29. The nearly six-month remodel, the first major construction to the 40,449 square foot branch since 1999, includes a Main Street–themed children’s space, eight new study rooms, a bookstore/café, an updated teen zone, new service desks, additional electrical outlets, a meeting room kitchenette, and fresh lighting fixtures. Helmed by Gant Brunnett Architects, with Nardi Construction, Inc., the project is partially funded through the County Library Capital Grant Program, Maryland State Library.

Kentucky is taking part in the grant-making game, with ten libraries supported through $20 million in construction funds from the Department of Libraries and Archives. The grant is designed as an annual allotment over 20 years to cover construction debt. Among the libraries is the Clay County Public Library in Manchester, which will expand its footprint of 6,789 square feet into an adjoining space that was purchased a year ago and also houses the Clay County Historical Society. An annual annuity of $18,200 for 20 years will help to cover costs.

The New York Public Library’s main circulating branch, the Mid-Manhattan Library, is set to be transformed. The 159,880 square foot building closed on August 1 for a two-year, $200 million overhaul. Among the amenities will be “a multistory wall of bookshelves,” a business library, dedicated children’s and teen sections that will take up an entire floor, a free public roof terrace, and “hundreds of additional seats,” according to a library press release. Patrons will find an interim branch set up on the ground floor of the landmark Schwarzman Building across the street. The design team includes the visionary Dutch firm Mecanoo and New York City–based Beyer Blinder Belle, experts in historical renovation.

The Newberry Library, Chicago, an independent research library dating back to 1893, has an $11 million renovation on its agenda (rendering above). The Romanesque facility will undergo a remodel of 26,000 square feet of public space on the ground floor to include new galleries, an enlarged bookstore with a lounge, digital signage, and public workstations. Additionally, the entrance will feature more plantings and less fencing, while the Ruggles Hall event area will get a makeover as well. Ann Beha Architects will lead what is hoped to be a six-month project, to launch in January 2018. The effort has already banked 40 percent of funding through private donations.

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