Northside Library to be included in the American Libraries’ 2015 Design Showcase
As the northern region of the County continues to develop, the need for a larger library facility was identified to support growth. Previously, the Northside Library was located in leased space at Albemarle Square, and the County warehouse/storage space was located in leased space at the former Comdial building on Seminole Trail. The new facility eliminated the need for those two leased spaces, providing a permanent location for the Northside Library as well as long-term County warehouse and storage space at a significant cost savings to the County.
HBM Architects transformed the steel structure built in 1988 using warm colors and bright accents disguise the space’s former use, and new skylights and a glass wall bring natural light and transparency to the facility.
Construction began in early 2014. The new facility provides approximately 30,000 square feet of library space, space for the bookmobile, branch office space, and over 20,000 square feet of warehouse space. Additional spaces provided in the new library include:
- Separate collections for children, teens and adults.
- A variety of space types for reading and study.
- Generous computer space and connections.
- A small catering kitchen.
- A staff area for processing books, staff meetings, and other clerical functions.
- Two community meetings rooms, both of which can be divided and can operate while the library is closed, allowing neighborhood and community groups to meet after hours or allow meetings to extend beyond a regular closing hour.
- A lobby area which also connects to the lower level and mezzanine via elevator and stair, permitting the mezzanine to have hours that are not dependent on library hours and providing ADA access to the lower level.
- A maker space with 3D printer and music creation software.
- A permanent home to Albemarle County Public Schools’ English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) program
“This new facility exemplifies the evolution of the public library,” said Library Director John Halliday. “Today’s public libraries are more than technology centers, book repositories, and quiet reading spaces. They are also focal points for community gatherings and activities. “
The new facility officially opened its doors to the public on Monday, March 16, 2015 and has seen a nearly 10% uptick in circulation and a 31% increase in visitors.
The Design Showcase is American Libraries’ annual feature which celebrates new and newly renovated or expanded libraries of all types. Every year they recognize libraries that are shining examples of innovative architecture and that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Previous submissions have consisted of everything from outdoor facilities and LEED certifications to expanded high-tech teen areas and restorations of libraries from the turn of the century.
To learn more visit www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org.