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Thursday, 05 October 2017 10:11

Working Toward Transformation

Written by  Dennis Hines

JANESVILLE — The Hedberg Public Library is looking to undergo a facelift over the next couple years.

The Transformation Project will revitalize the library and position it to serve the community more efficiently, said Bryan McCormick, library director.
One aspect of the project would be to have the reference desk and the circulation desk in a centralized area.

“Patrons can come in and only have one place to have their questions answered,” McCormick said. “They won’t have to go to multiple places. We will have a centralized service point for patrons.”

The programming room would be renovated to accommodate more people and programs. McCormick said the room could be used for meetings, training sessions and community events.

“(The programming room) will be more accessible for people using the space,” he said. “Right now, we have a big pillar in the middle of the room, and it’s awkward when we have events. With the renovation, the pillar will now be near the back wall.
“The room will be bigger, and we will be able to accommodate more events. We can have about 150 chairs for auditorium-type seating or round tables for meetings or rectangular tables for training programs.”

McCormick said the library also plans to add a new training lab, which could be used for classes and meetings.
“We will have mobile computers for training,” he said. “We can take the computers out and use the room for classes and meetings. There will be more flexible use for the room. It could double as a teen area and host programs for teens.”
McCormick said with more businesses and schools conducting group projects, the library needs more spaces where people can conduct meetings.

“One of the things that’s happening in the schools is more collaboration work,” McCormick said. “A lot of companies are having their employees work together on projects. With more space (at the library), it will encourage more collaborative work and accommodate more growth in people working together.”

The project also includes adding four more study rooms, complete with screens to allow users to project information and images from a laptop computer.

“We have four study rooms now, and they’re used heavily,” McCormick said. “We will have four more rooms that will be upgraded for technology.”

Patrons will have more places to do some reading and to conduct research, as the library would include a leisure reading area and designated quiet spaces.

“People can sit down and read in a comfortable space. We could also host an author talk. An author could talk to a group of 20 to 25 people sitting in a comfortable space,” McCormick said. “(The quiet spaces) would be for people who want to do some research, do some genealogy or look at some microfiche. It’s for people who want some quiet.”

The project also includes upgrading the technology, lighting and furniture and replacing the roof. McCormick said some areas of the library haven’t been upgraded in 20 years.

“It’s time to upgrade the carpeting and lighting,” he said. “We want to keep the building in good shape for years to come.”
McCormick said the library has been planning the Transformation Project for about three years.

“Beginning in 2015, we brought in an architectural firm to look at the building. They watched how patrons interacted with the staff, and they presented a plan based on their observations and based on what other libraries were doing,” McCormick said.

“At the end of 2015, we completed a feasibility study and started our capital campaign in 2016.”

The project will cost about $2.8 million. About $1 million will come from the city of Janesville, and about $100,000 will come from the Hedberg Public Library fund balance. The capital campaign is projected to raise about $1.7 million, of which about $200,000 has been raised.

The library expects to receive some grant funding in October, which will go toward the capital campaign.

“For our fundraising, we’re in our most active phase right now,” McCormick said. “We’ve had meetings with groups to get their support.

We’re hoping to wrap up our bigger gifts in October and some other gifts in November and December.”
Jackie Wood, co-chair of the capital campaign committee, said the campaign has received a positive response from the community.
“Everyone has been receptive,” Wood said. “We haven’t gotten to everyone yet, but we’re still working on it.”

Through the 100 Women Transformation campaign, 100 women have been asked to encourage 10 friends to donate $100 each or 20 friends to donate $50 each toward the project.

“Basically, we figure if the 100 women ask 10 friends, we can spread the word more,” Wood said.

McCormick said groups and organizations also could host fundraisers to help raise money for the campaign.

“Anyone who wants to get involved with the campaign, they can talk to us about how to get on board,” he said.

For more information about donating to the campaign, go to hedbergpubliclibrary.org. Donation packets also are available at the library.

Wood said residents also can take a tour of the library to get more information.

“People are available to give tours,” Wood said. “You can take a tour of the library before you decide whether to donate.”

McCormick said he hopes to have the money raised by the end of the year and have the project start in 2018.

“It depends on when we go out for bids for when we start the project,” he said. “We want to bid the project out all at once.”

The majority of the project should take six to nine months to complete.

“We plan to keep the library open and to do it in phases,” McCormick said. “We plan to do the roof the following year. (The roof replacement project) shouldn’t have any impact on keeping the library open.”

McCormick feels patrons will be pleased with the renovations once they’re completed.

“It’s going to be great for the community,” McCormick said. “I look forward to showing it off to the community. I think they will enjoy it.”

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