Council visits library for ideas

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The new Princess Anne Library in Virginia Beach was designed as a &uot;destination point&uot; for the community, a library official told Suffolk City Council members, staff and library board members, who visited the facility Wednesday afternoon to gather data as they embark on designing a new library in North Suffolk.

The trip was made in lieu of Council’s regular work session.

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Library Director Martha Simms explained that Beach officials wanted families to plan trips to the library just as they would going to the zoo or a museum.

Many of the features of the $4 million, 16,000-square-foot facility that will open in the fall include a drive-through window, self-serve check out, a computer lab, separate, distinct areas for children and teens, and a community meeting room.

Simms noted that a series of eight public meetings was held at which officials gathered input on what people wanted the library to be.

&uot;These were the services they valued,&uot; she said. &uot;These were the services they needed.&uot;

The library will be open seven days a week and staffed with the equivalent of 29 full-time positions. Operating costs are projected to range from $1.17 million in fiscal year 2003-04, to $1.43 million in fiscal year 2008-09.

The group was welcomed at the library by Beach Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf.

En route to Virginia Beach, the Suffolk entourage heard a presentation from Edward G. Lazaron, AIA, vice president of The Design Collaborative, the architectural firm that designed the Princess Ann facility and who will design Suffolk’s.

Lazaron noted that libraries are buildings in transition, moving more from print to digital material and that patrons are becoming more diverse.

He said the main points Suffolk officials should bear in mind in planning a design are flexibility and expansion.

He said it’s typically more than two years from the time designs are made until the building is turned over to a community.

According to Gerry Jones, director of capital projects for the Suffolk, the next step for Council is selecting a site for the library. He noted that much of the building program for Suffolk’s projected 20,000- to 25,000-square-foot-library is already in the works.