Library Building Process Update: August

The last couple of weeks have brought excitement and progress on the mixed-use library proposal. 

OPN, the architects working on the proposal, were here several days. They hosted focus groups and community and staff workshops. They also gave presentations to the library board and city council. Over 250 members of the public participated in these activities. 

Focus Groups
The focus groups provided important information about how the community uses (or hopes to use) the library in the future. We learned things we may not have anticipated without these conversations. This will result in a building that is more responsive to the community's needs. OPN's focus groups were attended by just under 150 people and included groups such as:

• Children and Caregivers
• Teens
• Creatives
• Non-profits
• Meeting Room Users
• Senior Citizens
• Businesses and Entrepreneurs
• Educators

We even had a general group for those that felt they didn't fit into any of those categories. 

Open House and Staff Workshop
The open house and staff workshop provided opportunities to give input on draft layouts of the library's major spaces. The layouts inspired a lot of suggestions and comments. The architects will incorporate this input as they continue to develop new iterations of the building layout. 

Board and Council Presentations
OPN presented the concept of participatory libraries and spaces within them. According to OPN, participatory libraries: 

• Break down barriers
• Are adaptable
• Provide transparency and connectivity
• Are alive and changing
• Apply retail practices 
• Leave room for the unexpected 

No two libraries are the same and every community helps define their library. During their presentation, we also learned how APL space compares to libraries of comparable size. See the chart below. 

There are still many issues and questions we need to address. Parking continues to be a concern voiced by many. Library and city staff, trustees and the city council are paying close attention to this issue. A high traffic place needs to be accessible for everyone. It's essential to identify a good parking solution not only for the library, but for the whole area. 

I want to thank the 500+ community members who have participated in this process since the kickoff in June. I'll be updating you on how this project continues to evolve in the coming weeks.

- Colleen Rortvedt, Appleton Public Library Director 

  

chart: use of space