Library Building Work to Ramp Back Up, Paramus Applies for NJ Bond Funding, and a Library Construction Podcast | Branching Out

Construction work is scheduled for the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, OH, and Saugatuck-Douglas District Library, MI; Paramus Public Library has applied for NJ Construction Bond funding; and yes, there's a podcast for everything—now, a new library construction podcast from the Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program.

Exterior rending of renovation for Public Library of Youngstown-Mahoning
Rendering courtesy of Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County

As Ohio begins to reopen businesses across the state, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County is looking forward to beginning its Main Library renovation, estimated at $25 million. The library’s design team, headed by Executive Director Aimee Fifarek, worked with Bostwick Design Partnership for a year on the plans to rehab the 1910 Carnegie building. Renovations will include a 6,000 square foot addition to house event and culinary literacy spaces and an adjacent outdoor terrace; the existing building will feature a large children’s space, a makerspace and recording studio, added study rooms, and enhanced public access computer space. The original entryway, including granite steps and bronze doors, will be restored. Construction is expected to begin in August, with anticipated completion in spring 2022.

Construction was back on at Michigan’s Saugatuck-Douglas District Library as of May 9, after a month and a half hiatus during a COVID-19–related work shutdown. The new single-story building will be twice the size of the original facility, eliminating the older library’s accessibility issues. It will also feature more restrooms, multi-functional spaces, and quiet reading areas. Originally slated for early summer completion, the $4.35 million project’s debut will be delayed, and the first phases of reopening the library will take place in the old building, across the street. “We are saddened by the fact that we will not have an exuberant, celebrative first season in our new building,” Director Ingrid Boyer told the Holland Sentinel. “I am, however, glad that the extra space is coming at exactly the right time to accommodate social distancing requirements for both the staff and members of the public.”

The Paramus Public Library, NJ, has submitted an application to the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act Program for a $1.16 million renovation to its East Century Road Library. The project will provide an additional 1,958 square feet to accommodate more users, community groups, and expanded programming. The first round of grant solicitations for the Bond Act, which authorized $125 millions in state bonds in 2017, was launched earlier this year. In April, the Paramus Council unanimously passed a resolution to provide matching funds of $660,581 if the library is given the maximum grant of $507,000. The library received new furniture, carpeting, and lighting in 2017, and this revamp will include more furniture, seating, and shelves, in addition to the expansion. The library is currently closed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, but hopes to see approval of the application by the end of the year.

“Branching Out” posts once a month, but if you’re looking for more library construction news, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners’ Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program has launched a podcast on the topic. “Building Literacy: Public Library Construction” will explore the library construction process, from design to execution. Episode one, “Sustainability and Building Performance,” talks with Building Evolution Corporation’s Founder and CEO Wesley Stanhope and President Ken Neuhauser about how to plan for projects that achieve energy goals while not compromising on other aspects. Episode two, “Designing for Sustainability: An Interview with Finegold Alexander Architects,” focuses on how architects integrate sustainable measures within the design process. Future episodes will range from advocacy and fundraising to what to expect a year after opening.

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Lisa Peet

Lisa Peet is Executive Editor for Library Journal.

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