Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the hands of the architect

The building program is complete. The directions for size and function are in the hands of the architect, along with the Board's selection for a site plan in downtown Plainfield.

Scott Rihel from Healy Bender Architects is working on the schematic design. This is where we'll start to see what it may look like - after all that planning! I'll be getting a sneak peek at the first draft tomorrow. The Board of Trustees will get their first look at a more polished version at their regular Board meeting on November 19th. Then the tweaking begins! They are slated to look at revisions of the schematic design at Special Meetings on November 24 and December 8. At that point, you'll be able to see the preliminary elevations and plans here and on our website.

In the meantime, I'm doing budget projections for the new facilities with the public finance consultant. We need to be sure that the plan includes things like the cost of heating and staffing all that space!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Library use rises during times of economic trouble

For those in the library profession, articles like this are no surprise:

The Boston Globe talks about how their local libraries' circulations are up each month now. For the Plainfield Library, that's business as usual.

But how is Plainfield Library responding to yet another increase in demand? We're doing our best to meet your needs! Multiple copies of bestsellers are leased and purchased to try to keep wait times low. Magazines, even the current issue, may be checked out. While the library can't have 50-100 copies of the latest release DVD like a video store, you can get that movie for free if your willing to place a hold and wait your turn. We'll even entertain and educate you with free educational and cultural programs for all ages.

Look for our November/December newsletter in your mailbox soon. The lead article is on Return on Investment for library service. I think you will find that the money you spend to support your library is money well spent.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Downtown Building Expansion - Prelim Cost Comparison 10/6/08 draft - DISCLAIMER

Downtown Building Expansion - Prelim Cost Comparison 10/6/08 draft

When you look at this document, please be aware that it was created as a means of comparing probable cost of various options for the downtown site. It is not, and was never intended as a full cost estimate of any of the site options. The Board of Trustees requested this estimate as a means of comparing potential costs across the various options

The document utilizes average costs per square foot of different types of new construction and renovation work, with placeholder estimates for other common costs such as furnishings, soil testing, and professional services.

This is not intended as a cost estimate for a final plan. It was informational to aid in the selection of a site option.

Site Option Selected for Downtown, Joint Use Facility Priority for Secondary Site

As of last night's meeting of the Board of Trustees, we have a site option for the expansion of the downtown building selected! A unanimous vote of the five Trustees present made Site Option 10 the winner!
This option retains nearly all of the existing building, enveloping parts of it within the expansion area to optimize its functionality as a library space.

In order to reach the 70,000 square foot facility in the downtown with all of the services recommended by the Site Feasibility Committee to be located at the downtown site, a parking variance from the Village of Plainfield will be needed. Using the 1 parking space per 400 square feet required by the Village ordinance for libraries, 155 parking spaces are needed. However, the inclusion of the auditorium in the proposed expansion makes the building "mixed use" and adds one space per 5 seats in the auditorium to the requirement, for a total of 215 parking spaces. The plan selected provides for 160 parking spaces, exceeding the spaces needed under the library parking requirement, but under the mixed use requirement. One strong argument for the variance is the anticipated use of the auditorium at times when the library is not open to the public, namely Friday and Saturday evenings. With the Village, Park District, and Library's shared goal of bringing more cultural amenities into Plainfield, we are confident that a satisfactory solution for parking can be negotiated.

For the secondary location, discussion continues with the Plainfield Township Park District on a joint use facility. Macom Corporation is working closely with staff form the library and park districts on two possible locations in north Plainfield. The Library Board has chosen to focus on these joint use facility sites rather than a stand-alone branch site. The proposed branch would be approximately 30,000 square feet with full library services, including meeting and program space, regardless of which location is selected.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Library staff tours libraries for ideas and inspiration

Twice a year, the Plainfield Public Library is closed to the public while the staff attends a day of training. The training can be anything from a new computer program like Office 2007 to how to respond to disasters and other emergencies in the library. This year, with our focus on planning for expansion, library staff toured two different libraries: Skokie Public Library and Addision Public Library.

Skokie Public Library ( is one of five libraries to win the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries, honoring libraries and museums that have helped make their communities better places to live. This library serves as a model for library service that makes a difference in the lives of its residents. Their gracious staff gave tours and answered questions, giving the Plainfield staff a new perspective on service.

With only a few weeks since their grand opening celebration, Addison Public Library ( showcased what can be included in the design of a modern library. From art to countertops, shelving to green roof, staff shared the positives and negatives of all stages of an expansion project.

The conversation continues among the Plainfield Library staff on everything they liked and disliked about these libraries, the ideas they had for immediate use and those for expansion planning.

Thanks to our friends in Skokie and Addison for taking the time to allow us to tour their libraries!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Playing well with others

Partnering with other public entities - such as the Village and Park District - is a priority for the Plainfield Public Library District. The Library's long range plan not only includes positioning the library as a community center but also expanding our partnership efforts. Within the library's expansion planning, exploring ways to expand partnerships is integral to the process.

Conversation continues among staff from the Library, Plainfield Township Park District, Village of Plainfield, and Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202. In planning for future expansion, the Library is committed to exploring joint-use facilities and other concepts for partnerships.

The one thing to bear in mind on this, however, is that bringing multiple public entities with their separate governing boards into agreement on a plan will take time. Speaking back to my previous posts about waiting... :-)