KLA 2012: New Building Stories

You Finally Have a New Space, Now What Do You Do With it?

Listen to to your Gut and get your Ducks in a Row – Andover Public Library – 2008 – in an 80 acre park.  Moved from 2,500 to 15,000 sq. ft.  Carol.

Areas that Staff need to be ready for: people, building, money and governance.  How do you best accomodate folks?  How do we responsibly use the new facility? How do we remain sustainable? and What policy and procedural changes will we encounter?

Learned that…should not quit cultivating donors or ignore the City staff/Council or stop building coalitions and community involvement.  Also realized that Capital Campaign workers need additional and new important jobs – don’t insult them and let them continue their involvement.  Change the staffing structure, as well.  Team-based management, with volunteer recruiting and training program with a manual.  Formalized communication procedures with the City.  Negativity and fussiness leaked in, for example with the very-popular art space – fought that with Staff Expectations.  Open to changing and adapting the space to meet the needs of the community, but consider these changes when working with donations and naming opportunities.  Exponential growth in ALL areas need to be expected!  Pad everything, for example with utilities.  Be aware and prepared for Donor demands – have Memos of Understanding that waive space usage.  Safety and motorized wheel chairs need to be attended too – safe parking lot, safe doors, cross walks, etc.  Get FEMA money for your storm shelter!  Some donors will make demands and these need to be anticipated.  Don’t be reactive or overly impulsive – be thoughtful and jury program ideas.  Art Committee juries all art displayed in the library.

Kim Beets from Bonner Springs – Experiences AFTER getting into the building (14,000 sq ft opened in 2009):  If you build it, they will come.  Allure of the new building – revitalized the Friends Group and doubled stats.  Momentum has never stopped.  Budget didn’t quadruple with the space, nor did staff.  Utilities, lawn care issues were some of the big surprises.  Single service desk, sight lines and one floor saved them.  Know the limitations of your budget and plan the design features to work within that.  Sound It Out – how sound travels (fixed after the fact) – many hard surfaces in the library that bounce sound – added acoustic treatment into the meeting room and between staff and public area.  Energy!  Personally and electricity.  Wishes she would have done more with energy/green/sustainable solutions.  Took advantage of a local energy efficiency expert – gave suggestions like having the janitor work part of the time when the library is open.  Tighten up the programmable thermostats – zones.  Motion sensing lighting will be pursued (after the fact).  Green is Good – on 1.6 acres, so not much green space.  Hired lawn care and now the library is a park-extension.  Sprinklers, treatments, fertilizer – all expensive.  People gather at the library’s lawn now – take photos by the library, walk dogs, etc.  Donations (like statues) from the local garden commission, and trees and memorials and flowers.  Give a Tour Whenever Possible Great opportunity – tell your stories, tell your dreams and let them see the space your through eyes (including staff and Board members and City council member as guides).  Effective for planning and donors.  What they Didn’t Tell you  Building Management is taking over her life!  HVAC more and library work less.  Networking with professionals in those areas you need help with – landscaping, HVAC, building management, etc.

Sharon DuBois at Quinter on I-70 West of Hays – Jay Johnson Library.  Went with a Prairie theme in expanded building.  Community TV room – gaming and comfy furniture…and gets Jr. High boys in the library!  YA area not used, but the kids like the leather couches more!  What’s changed?  Meeting room was the KEY to the expansion, but it wasn’t used right away!  Library used it, but it took time for the community to use it.  It took one group and then word of mouth to get it started.  Must hear about it from friend of the friend – now it’s overbooked.  ESL program on Tuesday nights, afterschool programs and the custodial staff are VERY important and hard to schedule.  Wanted a comfortable and welcoming space – mission accomplished.

Q&A –

  • Staff issues, volunteers, single service desk and open space with sight lines throughout library saved them.
  • FEMA Money – Grant opportunity to get a storm shelter provided/built by the Government.  Free space for the library (with bathrooms) and some special requirements.  Investigate this – it’s changed recently.  Some use custom-build shelters, as well…if FEMA money isn’t available.
  • Green Technology – Use reputable firm!  Have an architectural consultant that is aware of Green tech (for good or ill).  Someone who knows libraries AND architects, so you have a functional building.

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