The first stage of the design process for a renovated Main library building is in full swing. On April 7, the building committee chaired by Andrew Greene met with Dattner architects, Daniel Heuberger and Ernesto Vela to review the results from interviews the architects had held with staff members in all the library's departments.
The Great Neck Library.
The goal of the meetings with staff members was to learn more about the perceived space needs of various departments. This is a give and take process, because in some cases programmatic needs may require additional space or may benefit from a reconfiguration of existing space and innovative technology fixes.
If all the space need suggestions of the staff were realized, the plan would need to add 16,000 square feet to the design. Eventually, the full board with public input will need to make the hard decisions of making compromises between programmatic needs and fiscally prudent and achievable renovations.
The architects also compiled a listing of all items currently in the collections in each department and calculated the linear feet that would be needed to display them. They also figured the differences in high-density and low-density displays. For example, in high-density displays, each shelf would be utilized fully while in low-density displays, the bottom shelf and the highest shelf, both more difficult to access for many people, would not be used nor would each shelf be tightly packed.
Decisions about low or high-density shelving make a big difference in determining the total square footage additions of a renovation.
There was a brief discussion of whether or not the mezzanine, which is supported by the book stacks, will remain as a library feature. Mr. Heuberger said that he believes the mezzanine will still be needed to house the collections, but that it could be reconfigured by bisecting it, turning it by 90 degree angles and constructing a sky light in the center of the roof to provide natural lighting. He indicated that it might be ideal to raise the roofline by about 5 feet to accomplish this.
The architects and some of the board members will have an informal meeting with Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman on April 20.
The next meeting of the building committee is April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room. The first public feedback meeting is on April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the community room. The architects will present their preliminary findings and will ask patrons for their responses and ideas.
A brief survey has been developed to help the board ascertain the preferences of the public in setting priorities for the renovation. The survey will be available in the May edition of the library bulletin and will be available online.