Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Question of the Day: Why can't the Library use an existing building(s) for its expansion?

There are three main reasons why an existing building was not selected for the library's expansion at this time.

#1 Libraries cannot use just any building due to the live-load capacity of the structure. Book stacks are HEAVY. They require 150lbs per square foot live load capacity. Typical construction is 70-90lbs. Reinforcing a structure to accommodate that live load generally costs more than new construction. Grocery stores are one of the few types of construction that would be similar in live load capacity needed.

#2 The size of the buildings available is an issue. Many of the building suggested when this question is asked, the old Police Station and the former Applebee's restaurant for example, are not large enough to meet the community's need for a library location. The proposed branch is 30,000 sq ft - about 6 times the size of the former Applebee's building. If smaller buildings are used, multiple branches will be necessary to meet the community's need. The biggest expense in operating a library is staff. The more locations you have, the more staff you need and therefore higher operating costs. The two facility approach was selected to balance space needs and operating cost.

#3 The location of the existing building must meet the needs of the community. Putting a second library within a mile or two of the existing building when the Library District stretches from north of Boughton Road to south of Caton Farm Road, west to Arbeiter Road and east to Kings Road/Gaylord Road. Most of the buildings available are simply too close to the downtown library.

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