December 14, 2011
Arlington’s Central Library Discusses Future Plans
Someday, in the not-too-distant future, your
Central Library experience will be vastly
different from the one you know today.
In November, the City began soliciting a second round of public
input for the
Library’s Central Visioning project, a long-term, citizen-driven strategy for updates and
improvements to the Central Library’s facility and services.
Citizen input collected in the earlier stages of the Visioning
project helped library leadership form a clear picture of citizen
needs and expectations for the future of the library, a
that includes enhanced genealogy services, cultural programming,
adult education, and technology-based learning opportunities for
children, teens, and families.
“I think it’s going to be a place where people come and interact
with each other and with information,” said Cary Siegfried, director
of libraries. “In the future, it’s going to be much more of a people
place than a warehouse for books.”
Siegfried said that the first stage of the Visioning project was
focused on services, “rather than on the size, shape or color of the
“The vision statement we developed was based on services, while the
second part of the process has been about matching the facility to
the services,” she said.
An assessment of the Central Library facility identified areas
requiring structural improvement, such as the elevator, roof,
plumbing and asbestos abatement. In order to accommodate these
improvements and enhanced programming, the Central Library facility
will need up to an additional 36,000 in gross square footage.
In the latest stage of the project, citizens were asked to evaluate
three options identified by the Central Visioning planning team as
the most viable paths to creating a Central Library experience
compatible with the project vision:
Renovation and expansion
of the current Central Library facility, a $30 million project. Of
the 1,300 respondents to the library’s Visioning survey, 46 percent
indicated that this option was “very desirable”.
Construction of a new facility on the current site, a $39 million project. Twenty-two percent of
the respondents rated this option “very desirable”.
Construction of a new facility
on a different site, a $42 million project. Fifteen percent of those
responding indicated that this was a “very desirable” option.
The city council is expected to discuss these options and possible
funding scenarios over the next several work sessions.
“I believe that this project will ultimately be funded by a
combination of taxpayer dollars and private funds,” said Siegfried.
“I don’t think there is a library being built these days that
doesn’t have some private fundraising.”
Siegfried described her work on the project as highly enjoyable.
“I’ve especially enjoyed the public input, the number of people who
responded to the survey with such positive
comments about what the library means to them. That was wonderful for the
library to see.”