Dale Owen (left) and Wins Bridgman showed off the new design plans for the Boyne Regional Library’s expansion-renovation project on Nov. 8 in Carman. These boards can now be found at the library, and the public is encouraged to check them out and leave their feedback. (EMILY DISTEFANO)
What do you think of when you imagine the local library?
The Boyne Regional Library’s new expansion-renovation design is now available for the public to view - and give feedback on - and the modern look may surprise those who think of only dusty bookshelves.
The new design was unveiled last week at the library’s second annual “Bail Me Out” fundraiser, where organizer Dale Owen said over $20,000 was raised for the expansion.
Owen, who is the chair of the library’s Expansion-Renovation Committee, said the new design is beautiful, current and accessible.
“We like it a lot,” she said.
The committee chose Wins Bridgman of BridgmanCollaborative Architecture to put a face on the library’s hoped-for new look.
The award-winning firm is known for its dual focus on accessibility and combining new design with heritage features.
Bridgman said he approaches each project with the goal of respecting and celebrating the heritage of the building and making sure that every person can enter the building without feeling marginalized in any way.
“You start with a respect for heritage and a respect for people,” he said. “The third [question] is what is needed?”
He noted the need for more and different types of work spaces; more surface area for books; and a large children’s section
So, the drawings includes multi-purpose areas for visitors who want to work, read or use the computer; provides 1.5 times more shelf space; and makes the children’s department the star of the show.
“We’re bringing the children’s area to the oldest part of the building - and in many ways, the most special part: the highest ceiling, the biggest windows and the most friendly in many ways,” Bridgman said. “Then within it, we’re creating a reading circle.”
The design also includes a community art gallery, reading rooms and a space for doing homework or holding a book club.
“Really, we felt like [Bridgman] listened,” said Owen of the partnership. “Many of the things that we said, we see in the concept drawings now.”
“One of our big deals is accessibility,” she added, noting how important it is to the committee that everyone is able to enter the building in the same way. “We want everybody on an equal playing field in our library.”
To bring the entrance up to scratch, the exterior design features a sweeping ramp leading up to the main door in the new portion of the building - which is also set back from the clock tower to let the old design remain prominent.
“I think this is a real celebration of both heritage and of the future,” said Bridgman.
The project is expected to cost roughly $1.4 million. The committee has already raised around $470,000.
Timing for the new construction will depend on how long it takes to raise the rest of the money.
You can visit the Boyne Regional Library to view the new design drawings.
The committee, and Wins Bridgman, are both hoping that residents will provide their feedback so that the new space can best suit the community’s needs.