Hedberg Public Library hosting forum on planned renovations

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Neil Johnson
Monday, April 20, 2015

JANESVILLE—Hedberg Public Library officials are hosting a forum Tuesday to show early plans for renovations the library says would revamp and improve its main floor.

Library director Brian McCormick said the renovations are likely two years off and will hinge on fundraising. It would be the first time in almost 20 years the library in Janesville has had renovations.

The library is seeking public input on designs, plans and features that residents might want to see.

The library will unveil some designs Tuesday night at the public forum, which is in addition to a discussion on the designs and some cost estimates at the library board's regular meeting Tuesday night.

The library board decided late last year to pursue proposals to remodel the main library floor, including the adult and child sections and service desk area. For designs, the library in February hired Madison-based OPN Architects, a firm that specializes in designing and building libraries.

That area encompasses about 28,000 square feet, just less than half of the library's 65,000-square-foot footprint. The section now holds about 207,500 books and audio-visual items, according to a library analysis.

The purpose of renovations, McCormick said, would be to improve services and to create flexible spaces for programs, computer use and quiet reading. It also would add more program space and spread technology more evenly throughout the building, McCormick wrote.

The library was built in 1993 and was last added onto in 1996.

According to a project timeline, final project plans and estimated costs are due May 22. The library would then start a fundraising campaign in May or June, according to the timeline.

McCormick said it's too early to give a full cost estimate for the project because the work could be phased in, and the scope of some renovations would depend on what residents would want to see.

He said renovations to the library's program room, for instance, could range from $20,000 to $200,000, depending on what upgrades residents and the board choose.

In a request for construction proposals released late last year, Assistant Library Director Charles Teval wrote that top priorities for renovations include:

-- A centrally located information desk visible to people entering the main area of the library floor. The desk would be in a line of sight of computer sections, the library's Janesville Room, the checkout desk and most of the adult area of the library.

-- Improved information desk, including a lower counter with flexible construction to shrink or add onto the desk based on needs.

-- Material collection “neighborhoods” with more seating and quiet reading areas that would be "insulated" from noise through an improved floor plan.

-- Two computer areas--an open air computer section and an enclosed computer lab for quiet use.

-- Reconfiguration to place microfilm readers near microfilm storage and to set public-use printers and copiers in sight of service desk.

Other priorities for the renovations could include:

-- An electric fireplace.

-- Improved lighting on floor and in program areas.

-- “Flexible spaces” that could include collapsible walls. The walls would close in temporary, hands-on program areas designed for groups of 30 to 40 people.

According to the request for proposals, the renovations would make use of existing features such as carpet, shelving, and furniture “whenever feasible and desirable.”

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