At 15,000 SF, the popular South Hill Library (3324 S. Perry St.) operates at-capacity, with a large collection and the highest circulation in the city. The building is in good condition and has recently been reroofed, however some mechanical equipment is at the end of its service life.
The project concept responded to strong community interest to preserve the South Hill Library location, building, and size, and undergo a “makeover” to renew building systems, finishes, and furnishings, create flexible connections to the program room (allowing either space to serve as overflow during heaviest use of its neighbor) and introduce group study rooms into the existing floorplan. There is also the potential to introduce a drive-up aisle and incorporate a book drop into the staff area of the library building.
At 17,800 square feet, the Shadle Library (2111 W. Wellesley Ave.) is undersized for its role serving as a destination library for the north side of Spokane. The site surrounding the library is property of Spokane Parks and Recreation, and granted by agreement to host the library. There is suffcient space immediately surrounding Shadle Library to accommodate an expansion to ~30,000 SF and meet the identifed level of demand for additional and 21st century library spaces and services.
Through later rounds of engagement including a community round table and Advisory Committee Community, the “lens” expansion scheme was favored. This scheme relocates the library entrance to a tall atrium, lined with clerestory windows and opening simultaneously towards the Aquatics Center and the Shadle shopping center across North Belt Street. An expanded program room and generous children’s zone, along with restrooms and storage, would be located on the opposite side of the lens-atrium, facing Shadle Park. The original building would be preserved, but would include new interior spaces including meetings rooms, Maker/Arts/Partner rooms, and a lobby and café. A 1,000 SF expansion towards the intersection of Wellesley and Belt would increase the presence of Shadle Library along the Wellesley thoroughfare, and accommodate additional Adult/Teen collection space and reading space.
Spokane’s main library, the three story, 117,000 square foot Downtown Library (906 W. Main Ave.), has experienced a significant shift in use since it opened twenty-four years ago. As public library use changes and as downtown Spokane becomes an increasingly attractive destination, SPL considers Downtown as a citywide hub of 21st century library services and a central place within the Spokane community.
Much of the building remains unchanged since its original mid-90’s format. Most notably, the first ﬂoor – apart from the gallery and community rooms along Main Avenue – is dedicated to staff functions. A reimagined Downtown Library would recapture this space and create a vast range of opportunities for public use from the first ﬂoor up. Key “storefront” spaces facing downtown streets and riverside plazas can be transformed into public spaces ranging from maker spaces and creation labs to a dedicated music studio and relocated Level Up center, program rooms, art studio, gallery, and café with stronger indoor-outdoor connections. These spaces would be connected by an open Collaboration Commons, connecting the existing entrance and stairway to a second entrance, art yard, and pedestrian plaza facing Spokane Falls Boulevard and new street level plaza.
Space for library materials would still begin at the second ﬂoor, where a robust marketplace would extend the retail experience of River Park Square Mall across the skywalk. A vibrant Children’s Discovery space would overlook the new riverfront plaza. Group meeting spaces would be incorporated along the east and west walls of the second and third ﬂoors, maintaining openness and sight lines from staff perches. Apart from additional group study rooms, the third ﬂoor would embrace the changes already made by SPL. The relocation of Level Up to the first ﬂoor would create more area for the Adult / Teen collection and reading space.
An option for the vertical connection between the second and third ﬂoors would be the construction of a social stair including a broad, gradual ascent adjoined by stadium-style lounging and furnishing. New openings would be made in the building’s ﬂoor to strengthen connectivity, accommodate the social stair, and introduce a new public stair between ﬂoors 1 and 2.
The 8,200 SF Hillyard Library (4005 N. Cook St.) is a small and awkward facility, due in part to its diamond orientation and inefficient double-sided entrance from one of its corners. Some mechanical equipment is at the end of its service life and should be scheduled for replacement. Hillyard’s staff room is extremely small, and offers few opportunities for recapture. The parking lot is small and challenging, and the site is insufficient for an effective expansion. Many opportunities exist to make-over Hillyard library, reorganize the interiors and unlock public space within the current footprint. One such strategy is creating a more permeable barrier between the (enlarged) program room and the library, as to create overﬂow or swing spaces during periods of heavy use.
Opportunities also exist to create an outdoor patio on the southwest side of the building – this location would be within sight of the bus stop on Cook St., and be protected from noise of the community center playground. Such a patio could effectively enlarge library space in periods of good weather.
An opportunity has presented itself for the Library to collaborate with Spokane Public Schools in developing an expanded, joint public/school library located across the street at Shaw Middle School. Over the course of this project, the Library, School, and design team have discussed strategies and precedents for ensuring access by public and students, while both communities beneft from expanded service offerings. The community outreach process found strong support for this concept. Should it proceed, Hillyard would move into a new building.Close
At 6,300 SF, East Side Library (524 S. Stone St.) is the smallest branch of Spokane Public Library. The library has very little space to accommodate a collection, computers, and reading seats. The building has no space available for recapture, and its site has no space for expansion. The parking lot, shared with the adjacent East Central Community Center, is frequently full.
During the project’s Discovery phase, the Library and design team entertained several options for relocating East Site to a nearby site with capacity to accommodate a 12,000-15,000 SF facility. Responding to strong community feedback, locations north of Interstate 90 were ruled out. There was, however, considerable support for locating a new East Side Library at Liberty Park, within 1 mile of the current East Side Library. A site option on the east edge of the park presents opportunities for co-location with the Liberty Aquatic Center and would bring the new library even closer to its previous location – a distance of a half mile.Close Project
Completed in 1998, Indian Trail Library (4909 W. Barnes Rd.) is the youngest facility in SPL’s system. The majority of exterior and grounds are well maintained and in very good condition; however, the roof is due for replacement, and some mechanical equipment is at the end of its service life. Public and staff spaces are outdated, and finishes are fit for a refreshment. The facility’s exterior book drop should be incorporated into the building.
The 10,600 SF facility is due to undergo a makeover, refreshing building systems, finishes, and furnishings. A renewed Indian Trail library should incorporate group study rooms, and create a more permeable and flexible entrance to the program room, allowing the room to serve as overﬂow space for the library, and vice versa. Opportunities also exist to develop an outdoor courtyard or educational garden with a strong connection to a revitalized Children’s Discovery area. With the migration of staff desk to a centralized perch in the marketplace, some back-of-house space could be “recaptured” for an additional group study room.
The library’s site includes plenty of space available for expansion if needed. Given the area’s growth, this concept may be considered at a future date.
An opportunity to collaborate with Spokane Public Schools District emerged in the East Sprague Avenue district, at the Libby Center campus (2900 E. First Ave.). Currently, Libby Center offers programs for gifted students and staff development. SPS had intentions to develop a multipurpose teacher training facility on a vacant part of the campus, on the southwest corner of E. Sprague and S. Haven. The Library is exploring an opportunity to complement a new training facility with spaces and services to present an interactive events center and a location for 21st century public library services for East Central and Southern Spokane.Close Project
The 1990 passage of a bond issue allowed for the construction of the Library’s six current facilities. Projects opened between 1992 (Downtown) and 1998 (Indian Trail), totaling more than 103,000 square feet of space throughout town to serve a city population of 185,000. Today the library serves a population of more than 215,000 in facilities that will soon be in continuous use for three decades.
SPL has been making strategic upgrades and improvements where possible within the limited financial resources available for capital projects, but is seeking a way to obtain the funding necessary to fully address the significant capital project needs, and respond to changes in the community and changes in the delivery of contemporary library services.
In 2015, the library began a process of planning the future of their facilities. The Library Board of Trustees approved the 2016 Facilities and Future Service Plan that made recommendations to expand, transform, relocate, or “recapture” public space system wide.
In 2017, the Board directed the Library to move forward with the next step in facilities improvements. In late 2017, the Library hired a design team to develop preliminary designs and project budgets for improvements. This Preliminary Design project refined into detailed project scopes and project budgets that form the basis for seeking new funding totaling an estimated $75 million in a bond election in November 2018.Close Project