Small, Medium and Large: Library Renovations for Small, Medium and Large Budgets

Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 pm with Cheri Fiory, Upper Dublin Public Library, Janet Fricker, Bethlehem Area Public Library and Susan Jeffery, North Pocono Public Library

Disclaimer – I’ve seen Upper Dublin’s renovations, but just saw images of the other two in today’s program.

Based on a 2009 study, the Upper Dublin Library knew they needed to focus on teen space and quiet space.  Also knew they needed a quick-fix to get them through the next 5-10 years, so they asked for a low-cost, expanded space and went to the Township for $200,000.  In the end:

  • Design – $235,000
    Friends – $105,000 for new furniture
    Grants – $10,000


  • New Teen space and daytime computer lab
  • Quiet reading room
  • Conference room
  • New service desk and workroom

Recommend: Get help, communicate clearly, plan, and educate self on project management.

To my Kansas peeps, I say be thankful for Hans and Co.!  Definitely worthwhile to have a general contractor or architectural consultant on the team to help review electrical schematics and other construction details the Library has to approve!

Medium – Bethleham historic building with no major changes since 1940’s – same fixtures and furniture, plus leaks, mold, water damage and exposed wires.

Started “Room to Grow” multi-phase funding campaign – fundraisers included:

  • 1407 fundraiser – if each person in the service area gave $14.07, they’d reach $1 million
  • Rotary golf tournaments
  • Fashion Show
  • Local restaurant gave percentage of profits = $38,000
  • Fundraisers managed by staff – one person put Part-time into Development.

Design elements:

  • Red, orange, yellow and green color scheme (even painted chairs)
  • Carpet used creatively to differentiate Teen for children’s area and 2 other areas of library
  • Two-sided Circ/Ref desk in middle – facing entrance
  • Revived period lighting, refinished ALL shelving, closed 3 months (staff worked in basement adding security strips, in book mobile or at another branch)
  • Used curved, modular furniture
  • Received a community development grant

Large – North Pocono – new building to replace outgrown 1985 building on 9 acres of land

Had to scale back the building from 14,000 to 8,400 sq feet due to funding.  Received USDA loan, RACP grant (only $250,000) and used naming opportunities and pavers going into the library.

Design features:

  • community center with outdoor porch
  • meeting space – 90 seats with after-hours community access (door to library after foyer)
  • Laptop checkout – work where you want, using a proprietary network, separate from open wifi network
  • Added a TV with CNN on closed captioning to quiet reading area
  • Teen shelves end-panels tiled with colorful, small square tiles – very tactile
  • Reading tree hand-crafted by local artist in children’s area
  • Future: nature programming outside door near children’s area, including a butterfly garden
  • Electronic bulletin board in foyer to reduce clutter and paper
  • Business Center with expanded desk space near copy machine for ‘away from home’ office
  • Geothermal heat, but not LEED certified b/c of expense, but still very efficient and green design and construction
  • Networking took more space than expected

Budgeting and Funding:

  • $500,000 grant and USDA loan = government money has added expenses
  • public bidding process required
  • Testing reports to state required
  • ADA requirements “tedious” – had to change railings in ADA bathroom multiple times
  • Closed 3 weeks – only brought over books from old building

Circulation went up at all libraries after renovations.  Bethleham saw their circ double and received additional funds from a local university.  North Pocono saw circ go up and an increase in new users.

Thank you to the presenters – I hope we can start renovations sooner rather than later!


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