The Library has been built in phases over many years, which means that when we do a big renovation, we often face repairing or modifying construction standards from the past. One of these, common to many older buildings, is finding asbestos, an outdated and potentially unsafe form of insulation.

During the course of this renovation, our construction crews found asbestos in several areas throughout the building. If asbestos is contained and undisturbed, it does not pose a danger and will not need to be removed. If the asbestos is an a trafficked area, or an area where it may be jostled by construction, the safest route is to have the asbestos removed.

After consulting with an environmental specialist, the Library and the construction team have decided to remove three small areas of asbestos. The removal will take place overnight on July 23 and 24, and no work will occur while the public is in the building. It is not exposed or presently a danger, and it is in areas where new piping must be put in. It is being removed simply because, when possible, it is best practice to remove asbestos. 

During the asbestos abatement, the Library will be open during regular hours. There may be some limited access to the 900s room and other nearby areas, and the Friends of the Library bookstore will be closed on July 24. Please let a librarian know if you need help accessing an area or book on that date. 

Last week, our construction crews finished the last steps of drilling our geowells. Beginning in early June, the crews dug four wells in the library's front lawn, each one going about 500 feet into the earth. When the wells were dug, the crews made the vertical connections between the wells, hooking them up to each other and providing the structure to connect them to the building. Even though the digging crews were dealing with the endless rain we've had lately, they finished the drilling and connections right on time late last week. Now, the next big step is re-landscaping the front yard! When the whole project is complete, it will look like it never happened.

Starting on  June 1, we began the transition from the first phase of the renovation to the second phase, which will last from through August. The second phase will continue the projects begun in the first phase, including updating Youth Services, renovating bathrooms, and installing new ductwork for our heating and cooling system. Here is what to expect during phase two:

  • Work in Youth Services will move to the north side of the building. In phase one, work occurred in the south half of the department. On June 1, the collections currently in the north half will move to the southern half, and the north half will be closed to the public. The picture book collection and storytimes will continue to be in the Current Periodicals Room.
  • Second floor bathrooms will be closed to the public. Bathrooms will be available on the first floor and lower levels. The are baby changing facilities in the First Floor women's room and the Lower Level men's room. 
  • The third floor Adminstration offices will be closed for renovations. Administration, including Community Services, will be located in the third floor Tech Services office space. They will be available by appointment during this time.
  • And one big project that will just last through June, is the digging and installation of the geothermal wells for our new geothermal heating and cooling system, which will be implemented in a portion of the building. The drilling crew finished digging the wells on June 11, and crews will be spending the rest of June hooking the wells up to the building and repairing the front lawn. It's a messy project, but we're excited for the eco-friendly end result.

There are a lot of changes going on throughout the Library right now, so please don't hesitate to give us a call or speak with a staff member next time you're in the building.

On Monday,  June 1, crews arrived at the Library to begin the process of digging geothermal wells to provide heating and cooling for a portion of our building. This process is expected to take about 3-4 weeks, depending on the ease of digging the wells. 

The wells circulate water that sheds heat into the earth in the summer, and pulls that same heat out of the earth in the winter. The energy that is pulled out of the ground may then be used to heat a building, and the heat that is removed in the summer provides air conditioning.

The Library will have four geothermal wells, all in the front yard of the building. Each well goes 500 feet into the ground, and takes about 2 days to dig. Occasionally, the drills encounter hard rock that causes the drilling to take longer. Once all four wells have been dug, it will take a few more days to a week to connect the well system to the building. When the drilling and installation is complete, it will be another week or so for the construction team to repair the Library lawn. Although the digging is a messy process, when everything is finished, the lawn will be as good as new and a portion of the building will have economical, eco-friendly geothermal heating and cooling! 

Check out a few shots of the big well tubing and even bigger drills:

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You may have noticed some of the work crews using scaffolding to fill in the open area around the rear elevator. They have put in new floors and ceilings for the space on the 2nd floor, and the rest of the area will remain open.

There are a few reasons that our architects decided to make this change:

1. A quieter environment. While the 4-story atrium has been a lovely architectural feature, it has not helped to create a peaceful library! Sounds from the auditorium carry throughout the entire building with help from the curved walls around the elevator. With the shaft being closed at the first floor ceiling, noise will carry less and the building will be quieter overall.

2. More square footage for YS. The portion closed off on the 2nd floor will be usable space for the Youth Services department. It will allow for easier sightlines from the reference desk, more room for materials, and easier passage between the northern and southern portions of the department.

As construction continues, you'll notice that the new walls will have large windows, keeping the area full of light and helping to continue the open feeling from before. Though it's a big change, we are excited about the possibilities it offers YS and the overall quiet it offers the whole library. 

The renovation of Youth Services is well underway! Though the department won't be completely settled into its new home until early fall, there have been a lot of big changes already. The refreshed department will have new, bright paint; an approachable and colorful reference desk; specialized lighting; and will take advantage of the increased square footage gained when the internal skylight was removed. Take a look at the pictures below for a preview of the big changes still to come!

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You can see a few of the new paint colors that will be incorporated in the space.

Read more: The Evolution of a new Youth Services

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