What is the detriment to not having these programs and services available now or in the future in the existing building?
Unable to fulfill the needs of our community.
Turning away community members from free lifelong learning opportunities.
Not providing a welcoming or accessible space for ALL of our community members.
Not effectively utilizing staff time.
Not providing 21st century safety for community members in a public building.
Not being able to help stimulate the local economy to our full ability.
What is it about the current building that is keeping the library from offering these services and programs?
A literal lack of space.
Inflexible space. the building was designed for services specific to the time it was built without much flexibility to adapt to future needs.
Who is the audience for these programs and how large is that audience?
Attendance and audience varies at each event we offer. Our capacity is limited both in the number of programs we can offer and the number of people who can attend each program. We are part of larger community initiatives that have the potential to draw significant audiences. With a larger and more flexible amount of space, we have the potential to meet the community’s needs in ways we cannot now.
What are specific examples of programs and services the library is unable to offer now that they can in a new building? Please list examples.
What we will be able to offer in the future will be determined by this process and what might be approved and constructed. The building was designed almost 40 years ago. It is being used in ways that couldn't have been imagined at the time.
The world has changed a lot in that time. The facility struggles to accomplish our community-led strategies in areas related to safety, accessibility, space and technology.
The elevator is not large enough to hold emergency lifesaving equipment.
There is not an easy way out of the heart of the children's department in the event of an active shooter. The windows that could provide an escape are too narrow for adults.
It is difficult to hide power cords due to the inflexible flooring. This creates tripping hazards and is unsafe for children.
The children's department entrance is too close to the building entrance. Children can bolt out of the building into a busy parking lot.
The children's department was designed with dated materials. Today's designs allow for playful, interactive spaces that are also safe.
The book stacks are too high and they cause blind spots where staff cannot see activity.
Families want to use the atrium in ways it was not designed for creating safety issues.
The building predates the American with Disabilities Act. There are spaces in the building that are not ADA accessible by today's building standards. Those spaces include the atrium, restrooms and material return areas.
Community members who use assistive mobility devices have difficulty moving through the building.
The only staircase in the building is too narrow and it creates a barrier for mobility and safety hazard. The staircase becomes congested during busy times.
The elevator cannot handle the current volume of use. Often during large events people have to wait in line to use the elevator.
The building doesn't allow for before/after hours meeting room access. This is a service requested from community members and groups.
We cannot host programs that draw over 275 people; the capacity of the meeting rooms. We have had to turn people away at events including; the Fox Cities Reads and summer library program specials.
Meeting room space is in high demand, therefore difficult to book. We sometimes have to turn away community groups because of the demand.
There is not enough space for teens. Materials occupy most of the space, and there isn't room for them to work collaboratively.
We're unable to properly serve tweens (ages 9-12) with a space to connect with their peers or access to technology.
The entrance area is too small and creates a bottleneck when we are busy with events and school tours.
We are maxed out on our study room usage. We don't have space for more study rooms. It is recommended that a library our size has 25 small study rooms to fit the community's needs. We currently have three.
We don't have space to create a variety of work and noise zones to address the changing needs and expectations of the community.
There are limits to accessing technology throughout the building due to connectivity issues. Community members are unable to collaborate with technology.
Our computers have to be clustered together due to the inflexible infrastructure. Community members are not allowed space for privacy. This is particularly important when completing applications for employment, social security, housing and more.
There are no available tech spaces for library programming. This limits the ability to support digital skill development and workforce preparation.
it is not possible to incorporate technology into the teen area without high costs.
Overall Building Issues:
The temperature regulation and ventilation throughout the building is poor. The HVAC system would need to be completely replaced.
Lighting is poor throughout the entire facility, especially for those with visual impairments. The lighting grid requires a complete replacement.
Noise containment in the meeting rooms is poor. There are volume issues if multiple programs are happening at once.
The main entry is noisy due to materials used and building layout. The layout causes amplification throughout the building.
The building is lacking transparency. Community members outside cannot get a sense of what the library provides. This also contributes to the lack of natural light, which compounds the lighting issues.
Staff areas are broken up throughout the building. This causes inefficiencies and hinders collaboration.
Did developers explore remodeling the current library?
As part of the request for proposals, developers had the option of exploring remodeling/expanding the current library.
Why not add a branch library or several of them throughout the City?
Branches are expensive to operate and Appleton is not big enough for this to be cost-effective. The branch service model comes at a higher cost of multiple buildings to heat and cool, duplicated staff functions, extra equipment, additional copies of materials, transportation costs and more.
Can the current library be expanded up?
Structural engineers indicated a third floor can’t be added with the current footings/foundation. To add additional footings would be equivalent to rebuilding the structure. It would be more feasible to remove the current facility and start over.
About 12,00 square feet of expansion space is left on the east side second floor. That is not enough space to meet the needs of the library currently or in the future. Furthermore, footings and foundations have a load-bearing capacity. Building codes have become stricter, making it even more challenging. Filling in the east side second floor, similar to the west side expansion completed in 1995, would be a much different construction.
If this project is approved, what happens to the current library?
There would be a number of options for the current library site and no decisions have been made at this point.
The library feels unsafe because of the people that hand out inside and outside in the parking lot and by the transit center. What is being done for the safety of visitors?
Safety of visitors is as much a priority at the library as anywhere else in Appleton. Our Police Department conducts regular patrols around the library area and responds to and addresses issues when called upon.
What is wrong with the current library?
Based off of the 2013 strategic plan, the current facility does not meet the needs of the community. As the library strives to fulfill its mission and vision, the facility is falling behind on standards for peer libraries.