January 22, 2014

Library Board approves architects for Main Library renovation

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library’s (CML) Board of Trustees today unanimously approved the selection of architects for the design of the renovation of Main Library. The Local Architect of Record will be Schooley Caldwell and the Lead Design Firm will be GUND Partnership.Main Library’s renovation is one of 10 projects to be completed by 2020 in the library’s aspirational building program.

Originally built in 1907 after a $200,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie, Main Library has had four additions to its original building, most recently in 1991. CML plans to begin construction on Main Library’s renovation in 2015 and complete construction in Summer/Fall 2016.

Main Library sits in the heart of the Discovery District in downtown Columbus, a vibrant urban core growing and changing to provide a better quality of urban life. The investment in – and commitment to – this downtown district is impressive and continues to grow and bring greater civic prominence.

Main Library awaits its own transition in this climate of positive growth. The major renovation and expansion of Main Library demands an innovative approach in order to realize its full potential as a vital center for learning and community activity in central Ohio.

The goals of renovating Main Library are to:

  • Increase public space and create safe, sustainable and vibrant environments that support community oriented, user-centered programs, technologies and services. Access to the Library’s extensive resources, up-to-date technology and exceptional staff, plus comfortable seating, quiet reading spaces, children’s and teen spaces, public meeting spaces, conference rooms and tutoring rooms are vital elements. All must be integrated in facilities that can be easily configured or reconfigured to adapt to community needs.
  • Connect to CML’s front urban plaza and the green space of Topiary Park.
  • Integrate technology and automation to provide customers and staff the latest digital advancements, utilizing them to serve customers’ needs in the most efficient ways possible, including self-service and personalized customer service.
  • Address the changing dynamics of the library service model, such as the growing influence of eBooks, digital learning and mobile devices as they pertain to customer behavior and expectations.

The renovated Main Library (as well as all the buildings in CML’s building program) will integrate new technology, providing customers and staff the opportunity to utilize the latest digital advancements.

CML broke ground on its new Driving Park Branch on July 30, 2013 with plans to open this summer, and on its new Whitehall Branch on Sept. 10, 2013 with plans to open later in 2014.

Schooley Caldwell Associates of Columbus and GUND Partnership of Cambridge, Massachusetts, have teamed to design the renovation of Columbus’ iconic Main Library. Schooley Caldwell Associates is an award-winning, full-service firm of architects, engineers, interior designers and planners. Founded in 1944 as a multi-disciplined partnership, the firm began with a focus on doing outstanding public sector work and has maintained that focus for 70 years. Schooley Caldwell Associates has also earned a national reputation as historic preservation specialists with work on such large-scale historic projects as the Ohio Statehouse. Visit sca-ae.com for more information.

GUND Partnership is a nationally recognized architecture and planning firm. Working with leading institutions across the country, GUND maintains a diverse practice encompassing a broad range of building types, including libraries, academic facilities and arts and cultural centers, among others. Visit gundpartnership.com for more information.

Both firms share a highly responsive and sensitive approach to context and a commitment to strengthening communities. This commitment is reflected in the firms’ collaboration on the recently completed renovation and expansion of the award-winning William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at The Ohio State University.

CML understands that great libraries create stronger communities, and each branch is an essential hub that reflects the unique needs of the neighborhood it serves. Some of CML’s 21 locations are 40 to 50 years old and inadequate to meet the demands of a growing 21st century community. Demands and expectations will continue to grow, along with the population of Franklin County.

CML’s aspirational building program is the result of a community-wide process that will continue to serve the needs of Franklin County well into the future. The plan is a multi-phased comprehensive blueprint that reinvents and revitalizes the entire 600,000 square feet maintained by the library.

In addition to being a vital community asset, Columbus Metropolitan Library strives to minimize its environmental footprint. With each new building or renovation project, CML plans to use sustainable building materials, incorporate glass for natural light to reduce energy costs and introduce other design and building elements friendly to the natural environment.

Phase one of CML’s aspirational building program will transform and significantly upgrade seven urban branches (Driving Park, Whitehall, Parsons, Martin Luther King, Northside, Northern Lights, Shepard) and two suburban branches (Hilliard and Dublin). In addition, changes to Main Library will represent a major investment in downtown Columbus and the Discovery District.

Visit columbuslibrary.org for more information and to track progress of CML’s ambitious building program.

Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Club and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college readiness and employment resources.

CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. Columbus Metropolitan Library has been rated a 5-Star Library by Library Journal for seven of the eight years the magazine has published its industry ratings.