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Library Blueprints

Today, the Lawrence Journal-World published a fantastic article with a sneak peek into our new library. Although you’ve seen photos of the construction progress, you might be wondering what the layout of the collections looks like in the new space. You can see the blueprints of the space here, highlighting the collections, study and meeting rooms, spaces like the auditorium and Reader’s Theater, and back of house areas.


Main Level




















Lower Level

Artwork Sneak Peak

This Thursday we had the privilege of getting a sneak peak at the Percent for Artist winners Dierk Van Keppel and John Shreve in the studio. They were selected to create glass artwork pieces in our new building, including a tremendous structure over our grand staircase. On Thursday, we toured their studio to see how they create the artwork, other examples of their craft, and best of all – the start of the library’s project!

February Renovation Update

The expansion foundation is now complete, and with the external structure in place construction crews are working to install windows and exterior finishes! Inside, the bottom floor is almost finished with drywall, while the framing is complete for the upstairs. Construction is beginning on built-in book shelves throughout the upper level as well. Since our last update, the grand staircase is completed, along with the large atrium area allowing natural light to flood our library centerpiece!

The look and feel of each individual space is starting to come together. We’re also excited about the addition of art display spaces and an increased fish tank in the children’s area. Planning has begun on opening weekend activities and we’re fine tuning the details of later summer fun programs in the new space. Lawrence, we think you’re going to love your new library!

Public Artwork Renderings and Design Plans

Last August, the city and library coordinated to adopt a Percent For Art ordinance that reserved capital improvements monies for art projects in the major renovation of the library. The City of Lawrence allocated a percentage of the library construction budget for a public art commission. The purpose of the Percent For Art purchase was to commission permanent public artwork to serve as showcase pieces to inspire public imagination in the new building. The artists were selected to create pieces that stretch beyond the traditional interpretation of libraries and speak broadly to our mission to build community, share stories, and instill a love of learning and creative pursuits.

Artists Dierk Van Keppel and John Shreve were selected as the artistic team to develop the artwork. Van Keppel and Shreve work together in an artistic collaboration stationed in Kansas City called Rock Cottage Glassworks. They create custom lighting, public art pieces, vases, and more, combining “the ancient craft of glassblowing with the modern approach of fusing glass.” Each of the art pieces from Rock Cottage Glassworks brings to life the patterns and chaos reflect in the universe.

This month, Shreve shared some updates with us as well as some new sketches of what the art will look like in the new building and where the smaller pieces will be located throughout the building. Their plan is to create one large sculpture hanging above the open stairwell, and distribute smaller pieces throughout the library. These extra glass pieces will create a sort of art scavenger hunt, where children and adults alike will have the opportunity of finding these hidden gems located in ceilings, above bookcases, in the children’s reading cubbies, and more.

We are pleased that the artists are going above and beyond our original request, placing 50 pieces of art throughout the library. We are especially excited about pieces in all of the cubbies in the children’s room, one in the fish tank, and a globe hanging in the northeast corner window where the toddler play area is located. Children in Lawrence will be able to grow up at the library surrounded by books and art, and to us, there is no better education.

The following images show renderings of what the large piece over the stairwell will look like. This is still just a sketch for placement, so the color of the glass is not included. Each piece of glass in the structure will include several colors and patterns of blown glass, similar to Van Keppel and Shreve’s other Rock Cottage Glassworks projects. There are several different vantage points to check out in these images.

Art - looking east

Art - looking east

Art - looking southeast

Art - looking southwest

Art - looking west/northwest

Art - looking north

Art - from bottom floor looking up

Below is the blueprint of the first floor, showing where the extra glass pieces will be located (please note, these blueprints have changed slightly). The bottom floor will also include some of the art pieces. All of the red points are pieces of glass. Notice there are quite a bit in the check out area. These will be in the ceiling, to be viewed from below as you are entering or exiting the main area of the library. 




December Renovation Update

As the weather gets colder, our library building gets bigger! Most of the foundation is poured for the expansion on every side of the ground floor, and you may have noticed the external structure is starting to form. Once the “shell” is complete, crews will be able to work internally, regardless of weather conditions. Our opening date is not yet set in stone, but as the building progresses, plans are already underway to open the library with an improved and expanded collection, even more community partnerships, programs that use the full potential of our new spaces, and a grand opening to “unwrap” the community’s gift to itself. Summer 2014 is shaping up to be one for the ages.

By the way, if you ever have any questions regarding our new building, please feel free to contact our Marketing Coordinator: Jeni Daley, or (785) 843-3833, ext. 123.

LEED Certification Application

In the process of renovation, the concept of creating an environmentally responsible building was a major priority for the library. Taking that into consideration, several design decisions have been based on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program. Below are some quick facts on the rating system:

  • LEED = Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
  • Applying for a LEED certification means we are committed to having a green building that is environmentally responsible.
  • The LEED certification we are hoping to achieve is for a “New Construction and Major Renovations” project.
  • Although we should qualify, we will not actually gain LEED certification until after the completion of the building; this means we are in the application process and several of the construction/design decisions are based on green strategies that may aid in our certification.
  • The LEED rating system is based on several categories: 1) Sustainable Sites, 2) Water Efficiency, 3) Energy and Atmosphere, 4) Materials and Resources, 5) Indoor Environmental Quality, 6) Innovation and Design Process, and 7) Regional Priority Credits.
  • In each category, there are a number of possible credits – some credits we qualify for, some we don’t, and some we might qualify for.

Now that you have a better understanding of LEED, let’s talk about how it applies to our renovation project. Below is a snapshot of a document that details each credit we qualify for (leaving out the “maybe” ones) and what it means to us/how we are achieving it. The actual LEED application was created by expert architects, but we wanted to translate it into something that made more sense to the public (and us!).

Some of the descriptions point to specific details of our renovation (example: for the “water use reduction” credit we will be using 1/8 gallon urinals to save water), while others are more generic. The goal is to give you more information about our potential LEED certification in a way that anyone can understand, and relate the credits to our specific building. Click on the photos below if you want to know how we’re going green at the library!

October Renovation Update

Life is moving quickly in the library renovation world. Since our last post, the Vermont Street garage was completed, foundation has been laid for parts of the library expansion, and framing is already started on the bottom level of our renovated building. Although several factors determine the opening, our hope is to be up and running in the summer of 2014. Dates will fluctuate, but we will give you more specifics further down the road.

Below are photos from the beginning of October. Structurally, significant changes are taking place, which may be difficult to distinguish in photographs but prove to be great progress. The roof is set to be installed before winter weather approaches in November and December. Storm drains, plumbing and electrical lines are in the works, and concrete for new walls has begun!

Construction Update

So much has happened since our last construction update. The parking garage is quickly being pieced together. The demolition portion of the library building project is very much underway. Photos can tell the story much better than words sometimes, so please find below a series of photos documenting the past few months at the construction site. Read More..

Logs to Literature

Wondering what’s going to happen to all of the trees around the library once construction starts? Through an innovative partnership with two KU professors, logs from the trees will be salvaged and sawn into lumber.  The wood will then be distributed to area artists and craftsmen, selected via a juried application process. These artists and craftsmen will create art objects and furniture from the wood, which will be exhibited and then auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of the Library. More details to come soon.

What’s up with the renovation?

Even though you don’t see any shovels in the ground or construction dumpsters set up yet, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes in preparation for the upcoming renovation and expansion. Architects are busy in the “Design Development” phase, the period in which they move from conceptual drawings to detailed plans. Meanwhile, in conjunction with the City, we are planning for our upcoming move into our temporary space – the former Borders building at 700 New Hampshire Street.   Read More..