Creating New Connections
What the Oneida Public Library
Will Look Like in 2014
The architect’s view of the New Library’s main entrance, facing Main Street, on the New Library’s site at 456 Elizabeth Street and Main, as featured in the Architect Showcase in the special Library Journal architecural issue Nov. 15. 2012 (Holmes King Kallquist & Associates, Syracuse, N.Y.)
Seen from Elizabeth Street, the New Library’s design offers an open, one-floor structure, with easy access and adjacent parking. (Holmes King Kallquist & Associates)
Site plan shows the position of the New Library building facing east towards Elizabeth Street (to right)and facing west towards Main Street (to left). (Holmes King Kallquist & Associates)
The one-floor New Library with 18,000 square feet of space, as shown here in the floor plan, will include a spacious Main Room for the collection and patrons and a Community Room with a seating capacity of 100-125.
See the New Library Project video on YouTube:
Creating New Connections
Primary Sources for the OPL’s New Library Project
I. The Current Library Facility
1. Patience Kenney Jackson, Assessment and Projection for an Enlarged Public Library Facility (Feb. 2009)
2. Sheriden Engineering, Review of Existing Building and Site (Dec. 2009; Jan. 2010) and OPL Architectural Committee, Review (Feb. 16, 2010)
II. The New Library Facility Site
1. OPL Architectural Committee,Library Site Review (March 11. 2009)
2. Holmes King Kallquist and Associates, Site Investigation Study (June 29, 2010)
3. Arsenault Appraisal Associates,Summary Appraisal of Main St. and Elizabeth St. Tax Parcels [38.33-1-22.1 and -22.2] (Feb. 9, 2011)
Capital Campaign Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the new building and expansion necessary?
In these trying economic times more and more people turn to our Library for a variety of services. Whether online job searches, Internet access or a wide variety of print and digital media, the Library provides free services for all members of the public. Library usage has continued to grow every year, especially in computer and internet usage.
In 2012, as reported in the New York State Education Department Annual Report 2012:
• OPL patrons made 78,305 individual visits to the library, with a daily average of 251 people in attendance;
• Patrons borrowed 86,547 items—books, magazines, DVDs, ebooks and audiobooks—from the library;
• The OPL had 21,345 users of its public computers and 2,130 users accessing its public WiFi; and
• OPL educational and cultural programs attracted 8,763 people, while1,255 people attended meetings and programs of community organizations at the library.
What’s wrong with the old Library building?
For many years, the facility at 220 Broad Street has been able to cope with rising demands for services. In fact, it has hindered the delivery of many services that the Library provides the community. For example:
> The building’s layout limits staff supervision of patrons;
> The 1954 building wasn’t built with the handicapped in mind, and the overcrowding of the collection and the use of both floors limits accessibility for the elderly and parents with very young children;
> Lack of program space limits the number and attendance size of Library programs and community meetings;
> The building’s infrastructure does not allow for cost effective integration of advances in technology, electronic communication and energy efficiency;
> There are limited spaces available for recreation reading, study, tutoring and class instruction; and
> Parking near the building is inadequate, especially during peak hours and popular programming.
Expansion is not possible on the existing lot without eating up the parking lot. Building upward would require structural supports that are not cost effective. And the building, with its three floors, would still not be fully accessible to the handicapped without extensive modification.
What will be added to the Library? What is the Library’s plan?
The new Library building will provide the Library with a 214% increase in square footage. There will be 18,000 sq. ft. in a one-story building. More space will make hosting very popular programs and large community gatherings possible. In addition to traditional library services, new activities and programming options for children, teens, adults, and seniors will be developed.
The architect’s design for the new library focuses on:
> Designing a completely handicapped accessible building
> More space for programs, meetings, workshops and activities
> A community room that will hold a minimum of 100 people and is open to the public seven days a week, whether or not the Library is opened
> Space for more computers
> Increased parking
> More space for quiet, recreational reading, tutoring and exhibits
Will the Library have more books in the new library? In today’s electronic world, does the Library even need more books?
Even as the popularity of audiobooks and eBooks rises, the Library will continue to acquire new books that its patrons want or need, whether they be hardbound, paperback or large type. The demand for books locally remains very strong. In 2011 alone, the Library loaned out to its patrons, both adults and children, 51,047 books. So, the Library must continue to offer all types of print and digital media to the public; from traditional books to the latest innovation in eBooks. The reading public demands it.
Will there be more computers in the new Library?
Yes, eventually. With the added space, the Library will be able to house more public computers to satisfy public demand.
Will the larger Library require more staff?
Planning of the new building is underway, and staffing is a major component of that planning. For instance, the new building’s open, one-floor design will not only radically improve the Library’s handicapped accessibility, public safety and security, it will also minimize the need for additional staff members. New technology will be incorporated that will also keep down staffing requirements. The Library’s commitment to providing the best personal patron service is also a basic principle in the planning.
Will individuals or groups be able to use or rent the planned Community Room for meetings and events?
Yes. The new Community Room, with a planned sitting capacity of 100 people, is meant to be a community resource for organization meetings and classes, theatrical and musical performances and private events. Details are being worked out now.
How much is this project expected to cost?
The project, including all soft costs and fees, is projected to cost just over $5 million dollars. This will include construction costs and all costs necessary to make the building eligible for LEED Certification. Final details of the project budget are being completed. Funding will come from a blend of a various sources:
> A capital campaign run by community volunteers who will seek contributions from individuals, businesses and corporations
> Local and Regional foundations
> Government grants
No funds from the Library’s current operating budget will be used for the project.
I already pay an annual Library tax. Why should I contribute to the New Library Capital Campaign?
An active, growing library is as important to a community as law enforcement and fire protection, health care services, public schools and civic and charitable organizations. For one, it can be an economic stimulus. A good library is a community asset that has proven appeal to families and businesses thinking about moving into the area. For the community, the public library:
> Supplements the standard curricula in our public schools;
> Provides information, research resources, culture and entertainment to people of all ages;
> Offers literacy and workforce enhancement for the area’s unemployed and underemployed;
> Collaborates with organizations, businesses and professionals to provide the community with the resources any vibrant community needs to grow, learn, and develop; and
> Preserves and makes accessible the history and cultural achievements of the community for the current and future generations.
If you think a vibrant public library that serves as a community center is an asset for the community, we believe you will find the New Library well worthy of a voluntary contribution.
How can I contribute to the New Library Capital Campaign?
The Capital Campaign will be conducted by community volunteers to raise as much of the needed funding as possible. The Campaign Steering Committee, made up of community leaders and members of the Library Board of Trustees, will pursue contributions from individuals and businesses, corporate grants as well as government and private foundation funding. Pledges over time (up to four or five years) will be welcome, while contributors will have opportunities for memorials and family gifts.
Will government funding help pay for the project?
Yes. We will explore all sources of government support, such as the New York State Library Construction Grant Program, N.Y.S. Legislative Initiative Grants and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Fund. Local and regional economic development funding will also be pursued.
How is the annual operating budget of the library funded?
As a Special Library District [N.Y.S. Laws of 1996], the Library’s operating funds come mainly from a library tax on property owners within the same geographical boundaries as the Oneida City School District. Each year, residents vote on the Library budget and on candidates for the Library Board of Trustees. Significant funding also comes from governmental entities, private foundations and fines and fees. Grants written by Library personnel help support programming for all ages, literacy services to for children and adults and building repair projects. Donations, particularly from the activities of the Friends of the Oneida Library, provide some help in supporting patron services, while the Oneida Library Foundation, an independent steward of bequests, supplements funding for capital expenses incurred to maintain a library building.
Why would the Library enter into a capital building project given the current economy?
The need for a larger, more modern Library that can provide programs and services in the 21st century is greater now than ever before. Further,
> National and local experts agree that a strong, vital public library, as much as a good school system, is essential for a community’s economic stability and growth;
> The Oneida area has a long-standing tradition of supporting non-profit capital projects, whether in education or health care;
> After extensive study, fundraising professionals have assured the Library Board that a significant portion of the project can be funded by a local capital campaign.
What area is the Library chartered to serve?
The New York State Board of Regents has chartered the Oneida Public Library to provide all library services to the people within its Special Legislative District, as provided by the law of August 8, 1996, and endorsed by popular referendum in 1997. The District, which mirrors the boundaries of the Oneida City School District, has a population of about 15,000 people. It covers Durhamville, Oneida Castle, Oneida City, Oneida Valley, Sylvan Beach, Verona Beach and Wampsville.
Will the proposed new Library building be a green building?
The Library Board of Trustees is committed to pursuing every measure in design that can save energy and reduce the building’s environmental impact. It is also planning the construction so that the building will meet the requirements for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification. The Library staff and the architects designing the building are also working with NYSERDA to maximize state funding of the project. The Trustees of the Library have a primary goal to reduce the new building’s energy costs to the minimum possible in the short and long term.
How will the proposed new Library impact the annual operating budget?
Since the project is currently in the design phase, building operation expenses have yet to be calculated. As soon as the design is complete, a pro forma operating budget will be prepared and presented to the community.
What is the proposed timeline for the new Library project?
The new library building project is currently in the design phase. Once the design is complete and funding is in place, the library will make the construction timetable public.
October 12, 2012; updated February 25, 2013