Lewes library designers plan to get it right

Committee hammers out roles, decision-making policies
April 24, 2013

A large children's section, teen room, updated computer areas and niches for quiet reading in a one-story building are among the plans for the new Lewes Public Library.

The library's design committee held its second meeting April 17 to kickoff design and planning for the new building, slated to be complete in 2015.

Becker Morgran architects Brad Hastings and Arden Bardol discussed the process and cost of constructing a green building with LEED certification. Hastings recommended the committee plan for a one-story building to save space that would be used for stairs and elevators to a second floor.

LEED certification, which encourages energy efficiency and the use of sustainable materials, can cost upwards of $60,000, Hastings said.

Ned Butera, a member of the library's board of commissioners, said committee members, who were chosen by library officials, will work closely with architects from Becker Morgan Group, which was selected to design the new building.

“These members are from the community and can bring in their own expertise as well as information from their friends and neighbors,” Butera said. “I think it's important to lay down the ground rules and expectations first; it's better, up front, to establish how we will operate.”

“We want you all to be here, but we also want everyone to agree on the objectives,” Butera said. “If you don't speak up, then it is assumed you agree. It is best to speak up first during design. Later it will be expensive to move a window that's in the wrong spot.”

With 13 members on the committee and a deadline of 10 months to a year, many of the specific details will be worked out in small groups, then brought back to the whole committee. Butera said the committee will generally decide by consensus, but if that's not possible, a vote will be taken. When smaller decisions need to be made, those with expertise will make decisions outside of the group, he said.

Butera and library officials visited libraries in the region, taking note of problems, including a family bathroom without a changing table, a reference desk not staffed by a reference librarian and a poorly configured circulation desk.

“There was one where the door to get to the circulation desk opened in instead of out,” Butera said. “When the door was opened, there was about a quarter-inch left on each side of the doorway to get the book carts in, and whoever was sitting at the circulation desk had to move. Not good.”

Lewes Library Director Ed Goyda said the better the planning now, the better the finished product will be, and the less work officials will have to do in the next 15 to 30 years. Hastings said he would also do a 50-year analysis for the library.

Goyda said committee members are familiarizing themselves with design principles of 21st century libraries, both functional and aesthetic, using Roger Levien’s book, “Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Library,” which discusses the flexibility of modern library design.

The design committee members will rate many aspects of the library and its services to the community; these ratings and design ideas will be discussed at the committee's next meeting.

With its current use of 150,000 visitors per year, library officials expect the new building should contain 25,000 to 30,000 square feet, Goyda said.

The estimated cost of the new library is $9 million, with 50 percent to 60 percent of the funding coming from state and county funds.

Meet the design committee

Ned Butera: Lewes Public Library Board of Commissioners; previously managed East Coast facilities for Kraft Foods, including research and office buildings in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Laurel Fountain: Lewes library board secretary; Lewes homeowner with experience renovating; former project manager in film business for 18 years.

Arden Bardol: architect with Becker Morgan on the project.

Brad Hastings: vice president and principal architect with Becker Morgan Group. Hastings has experience working on library and education building projects. Becker Morgan is also working with Delmar, Dover and Crisfield, Md. Libraries.

Christine Besche: member of the City of Lewes Parks and Recreation Committee focusing on Stango Park and DeVries Circle.

Brenda Jones: architectural designer; founding member, Historic Preservation Committee

Maureen Miller: Children's librarian at Lewes library; longest employee of the library and previously worked at architectural engineering firm.

Kristen Gramer: assistant director of the Lewes Public Library for 10 years; assists with day-to-day operation of the library.

John Phillos: Delaware Library Access Services Administrative Librarian; will provide support from the state.

Don Matzkin: architect and retired educator living in Lewes.

Tom Hall: formerly in the pharmaceutical industry, he managed renovations of office buildings and projects.

Jackie Finer: Retired gerontologist with interest in universal design and experience renovating houses; retired president of Greater Lewes Community Village.

Ingrid Miller: Biblion employee; community volunteer with the library and an interior designer.

Barbara Warnell: interior space planning and design, Historical Preservation Commission, Lewes Historical Society board member.

Ed Goyda: director of Lewes Public Library.

Candace Vessella: president, Friends of Lewes Public Library.

A day in the life of Lewes Public Library

• 500 people visit

• 580 items are checked out

• 55 patrons use computers

• 2 programs are held

• 1 meeting is hosted

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