Branching Out, April 2017

East Baton Rouge Parish Library, LA, reopens its Greenwell Springs Branch after flooding; Chicago Public Library to partner on three new branches collocated with housing; and more new construction and renovation news from the April15, 2017 issue of Library Journal.

Independence Branch project in ­Irving Park, Chicago

The Greenwell Springs Road Branch Library, part of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, LA, reopened on March 3 after major flooding in August 2016 shut down the facility. Four to six inches of water had swamped the 26,672 square foot building’s interior, leaving extensive damage; 16,000 items were lost but have since been replenished with new purchases and transfers from other branches. Coincidentally, the branch was already scheduled for a major renovation; architects Bradley Blewster & Associates are seeking community input for the redesigned library.

The Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Public Library, and Chicago Department of Planning and Development have chosen architectural firms to design collocated library branches and housing in three neighborhoods. John Ronan Architects will lead the Independence Branch project in ­Irving Park (rendering), Skidmore, Owings & Merrill will work on the Roosevelt Branch in the Roosevelt Square area, and Perkins+Will was selected for the Newtown Branch in the West Ridge neighborhood. The companies will work with community members on final designs, with construction to begin in late 2017.

The Willowbranch Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library, FL, received the Riverside Avondale Preservation Award for Outstanding Site Improvements following a 14-month construction effort completed in November 2015. The 8,650 square foot 1930 Mediterranean Revival–style structure was long “plagued by water intrusion issues”; the project included a new sidewalk, a new drainage system, underground waterproofing, window restoration, new sills and gutters, and new flooring, plus a 5,000-item boost to the collection.

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