Friends of the Libraries: How to build your library

January 10, 2013|By Mary Ellen Goddard

Someday, the citizens of Costa Mesa will sit up and demand that we build a large library in town. This may be a brand new building, or it may be a redesigned building, or it may be accomplished by adding on to a present library. But it will happen. When we get ready to do this, I have come across lots of advice we might follow. "Designing a Fine Library: Tools from the KLA Standards Committee, the Regional Systems and the Kansas State Library," by Bill Shared, is one source. I liked this article because it not only tells you what to do, and it also tells things not to do. The following is a selection of five from their list of 25 problems collected by Kansas consultants. We might learn something from this, even with our present buildings.

1. "Incorrect cost projections that force the cutting of realistic space requirements." This, of course, is a common problem. I am not sure if this was the exact reason that both the Mesa Verde Library in 1965 and the Costa Mesa/Donald Dungan Library in 1987 were cut in size from the original plans. The end result was that we ended up with smaller-than-intended libraries.


2. "Inflexible furnishings than can never be moved." This happened to one of our famous libraries in the county.

3. "Problems with roof seams, flat roofs and skylights." You would think that because a roof is a main line of defense against the weather, more attention would be paid to making sure that it is not going to leak. But time and time again, and not just with library buildings, roofs become a major problem.

4. "Inadequate storage." The number of items that must be stored — chairs, tables, craft materials, books, book carts and a million and one other things — never seem to be adequately planned for.

5. "No provision for future expansion." When planning a library, consideration should always be given to how the building, the parking, the air conditioning and other utilities can be expanded.

Paying attention to things like the above can prevent a lot of trouble later on.


At the Mesa Verde Library

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