Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Board of Trustees to Pursue Single Building Options

At their regular Board Meeting in March, the Library Board of Trustees decided unanimously to pursue only single building options for the library's future expansion. The planning process began with an update to the 2008 Space Needs Analysis, a statistical overview of the Library's position among its peers according to current and projected service populations on the local, regional and national levels. This information guides an estimated space need for the projected service population. The next step is to create a building program, which an architect will use to guide development of a building design. The building program translates the Library's overall space need into specific types of space like meeting rooms, shelving areas and computer work areas.

Four major factors were discussed in the decision to pursue only single building options:

  1. Overall operational costs are significantly more for two buildings.
  2. It is a long term cost commitment to operation of two buildings.
  3. In an ideal situation, a branch would be located in the northwest quadrant of the library's service area. But our situation is not ideal. A "starter" service point could be used, like the pick up lockers and drop box service points utilized by some other libraries.
  4. This library has never passed an operating tax rate increase, even when it expanded from 2,700 sq ft to 27,000 sq ft.
So I now have at least one firm answer to "what's the plan for expansion?" So far, the plan is one building - everything else is still open to any possibility.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

From the Suggestion Box: Handicapped Parking

LC wrote:
"Handicapped parking for the Library should be in front of the building not on side. Handicapped people have to walk for their access."

You are correct. The handicapped parking is as close to the front doors as possible, given the location of the Library's front doors and parking lot. But it is still a distance from even the closest space to the front doors. If you investigate further, you will find additional ADA accessibility issues with the current building. The front door automatic opening mechanism is slow at best and makes the doors heavy if you need to open or stop them manually. Using top and bottom shelves on the 90" shelving makes much of our book collection difficult to access. There is no ADA accessible staff entrance. This means that staff members needing the accessible entrance and handicapped parking use the same handicapped spaces as the public and must use the front doors.

In a perfect Library, the handicapped spaces would be conveniently close to the front doors for the public with a separate accessible staff entrance with its own designated handicapped parking conveniently close. This Library building is far from perfect.

FTR - The Library does not have the authority to designate on-street spaces for handicapped parking.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The “We Need Everything” Quote in the Herald News

In Lauren Leone-Cross’s Herald News story on March 15, she quotes me:
“We need everything. We need study rooms. Community meeting spaces. More technology support,” Milavec said. “We just can’t house everything that we need on a daily basis.”

Some comments have been made about “we need everything”, as if I stated that Plainfield needs every bell, whistle, gimmick and feature possible for a public library - the “Taj Mahal” of libraries. That cannot be further from the truth. I said “we need everything” in response to the question “what kinds of space does the Library need? Meeting rooms? Study rooms? More for books?” The answer is yes, yes and yes. All of the above. An expanded library doesn’t need to be fancy or gimmicky or expensive. But our Plainfield community needs more than one study room for more than 75,000 people. Plainfield needs tables and chairs and rooms with doors and quiet reading spaces and shelving and computer classrooms and meeting rooms and desks and computers and program rooms and the list goes on. The Library building is the same size it was 1991 when 15,329 people lived in the library district. Over 60,000 more people have moved in since then. So, yes, the Plainfield community needs more library than it did in 1991 – and with 60,000 more people, that’s more of everything library.