library renovations 101

We are very fortunate in our consortium that we can reach out to over 80 other libraries/directors, etc. when we have questions, I did just that when the Board gave the go-ahead for our expansion project. I emailed all the directors and asked that others share their renovation architects if they liked who'd done the work. Like most things, you cast a large net, and only gather a few fish--in my case I heard back from 3 libraries and 2 of them both had had wonderful experience with the same architectural firm out of Columbus.

Monday as soon as I arrived back from Chicago, Prairie Dawn, a board member and I piled into my car and headed 2+ hours south east to look at one of the two libraries that recommended this Columbus firm. It was interesting to hear her experience, snap photos of things we liked, ask as to why/how they did certain unique things, etc.

What I'm learning about going through renovations/expansions in a library:
  • Go out and look around, not only at recently renovated spaces, but as many spaces similar to your type of business
  • Think about your space: if you're a small library look at how other small libraries utilize their nooks and crannies; how do larger libraries make their enormous space not seem so cavernous and unusable? 
  • Take notes as to what you do and don't like
  • Take lots of pictures--I have a file on my desktop called library stuff I love--so that when the architectural/design team comes back with 5 million questions you have a better sense of the things you think will work 
  • Stay in contact with the directors/libraries that were willing to show you around, reach out to them with more questions
  • Ask other folks who've gone through a renovation if they learned any helpful tricks to help in your process
  • Take up meditation/deep breathing/yoga, as these things will feel like the only way you can keep your shit together--this said by me before we've even chosen an architectural firm. :)

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