Branching Out, February 2017

Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library opens in Long Beach, CA; Tufts Central Library, Weymouth, MA, gets OK on new facility; Cook Memorial Public Library District, Vernon Hills, IL, to expand; and more new construction and renovation news from the February 15, 2017 issue of Library Journal.
Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library

Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, Long Beach Public Library, CA

In September, the Long Beach Public Library, CA, welcomed the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library (above). Situated a mile from its 6,800 square foot predecessor, the new 24,655 square foot building, the former Atlantic Theater, was designed by LPA Architects with a nautical theme. A two-story atrium takes center stage along with blue glass bubble accents and glass walls, according to the Press-Telegram. The building includes four interior study rooms and three community meeting spaces. An outdoor Learning Garden will be the site of educational programming stressing healthy food choices and urban agriculture, while a Learning Studio will house a 3-D printer. The project cost $17.5 million, funded through Redevelopment Agency bonds and the city’s General Fund. The building achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.

The Tufts Central Library, Weymouth, MA, received town council approval for a new $27 million facility, which now allows the library to seek a grant from the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program. The current 1965, 33,000 square foot building is in need of repair and asbestos abatement. The upgraded version, preliminarily designed by Johnson Roberts Associates, would be a two-story structure with 53,000 square feet, according to the Patriot Ledger. The plan also includes a 200-seat meeting room, a reference area, an exhibit space, and a local history collection.

Having been constructed in only 2010, the 20,000 square foot Aspen Drive Library, Vernon Hills, IL, part of the Cook Memorial Public Library District, is already looking toward expanding, according to the Daily Herald. There is some urgency to the timing, as two other agencies are looking to undertake a joint building project close to the library’s location, per the Herald. The cost of the addition could be as low as $4 million.

At a special town meeting held in mid-December, the people of East Bridgewater, MA, approved a plan to renovate and enlarge the 16,000 square foot East Bridgewater Public Library. The new facility would be 25,400 square feet and cost $17 million, $9.7 million of which would be footed by taxpayers, according to the Enterprise. The plan would involve updating mechanical systems, adding new meeting rooms, and creating a dedicated young adult area and relocating the children’s section from the basement to the top floor.—Bette-Lee Fox

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