Library Renewal Project
Today is 9/2/2015
Ames Public Library
515 Douglas Avenue
Ames, Iowa 50010
Ames residents love their library!
So much so, in fact, that Ames Public Library is among the top 10 libraries in the nation serving populations of 60,000 or fewer (as measured by the amount of books and other items borrowed from the library). If you’ve visited, you’ve probably noticed the hustle and bustle we experience on a daily basis. You may have also noticed our narrow aisles, high shelving and cramped spaces.
That’s because Ames Public Library hasn’t seen an expansion since 1985 – when our circulation was only 505,000 and yearly visitors were at 232,000. Today, our circulation is 1.4 million and we welcome 450,000 visitors each year.
Renewing for the future
The 1985 addition was planned to sustain our community for approximately 15-20 years. Now that 20 years have come and gone, not only have we run out of room, but our community needs have changed considerably.
The Ames Public Library Renewal Project is how we plan to expand and renovate for added room, improved security and increased functionality. This expansion will increase the building from 48,000 square feet to 77,455 square feet and is based on years of planning and public forum feedback.
How will we renew?
The proposed plan builds upon the 7,000-square-foot section that was
engineered in 1985 in anticipation of a second level addition. Additionally,
recessed sections of the 1985 addition will be filled in and an entryway will
be constructed to the sidewalk for safer and easier access. This fill-in will
allow for natural lighting and a warmer atmosphere, which will help us save energy.
The historic sections of the library (built 1904 through 1940) will remain intact and receive much-needed repairs and renovations.
How will renewal affect operating costs?
By designing to LEED certification standards for energy efficiency, architects
calculate that operating expenses won’t increase in our larger facility. In addition, staffing at the renewed library will be more efficient, as improved sightlines and staff work areas closer to the public will allow for better observation. Also, automated materials handling systems (now used at many public libraries) will reduce the manual tasks of managing returns so staff can focus on other responsibilities.
What about the impact of e-books and other downloadable media?
E-books, which Ames Public Library offers, promise to complement the
growing array of printed and audio books. At this time there is no prediction
by publishing industry forecasters that current book formats will cease to exist
in the foreseeable future. Determining precise needs for the future
is impossible to predict. That’s why we’ve proposed a building design that allows flexibility to adapt to unforeseen future developments in technology or service requirements.
So we gain more shelf space. For every new book or item we add to the library, one has to be removed – even if the book could still be used. More shelf space means more books stay relevant.
So we advance our children’s services. Book stacks have greatly diminished seating for our child and teenage patrons. In addition, our children’s services area currently sits alongside adult services, which creates a disharmony for both the relaxed children’s atmosphere and the quieter adult atmosphere. A renewed library will alleviate this situation.
So we improve safety and security
for all visitors. Fewer corridors and
partitioned rooms will offer more open spaces, which will give staff more
control of the facility so they can better assist visitors and observe library space to maintain a safe environment.
So we ensure every Ames resident can enjoy all the library has to offer.
Our current library is not in compliance with many of the recently enacted
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. A redesigned library will
offer accessibility for everyone.
So we enlarge our meeting spaces. Library programs and other events
often exceed capacity of even our largest room. More meeting space will allow us to meet the current demand from community groups.