With $22 million in city tax support, Arlington will get its new central library downtown in 2018. But furnishing and stocking it to serve as the flagship library that its planners envision will take additional help from the community.
About $8 million worth.
A capital campaign to raise the money kicked off last month, with half its goal already reached, thanks to a $4.1 million contribution from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation. Since then, $500,000 more in private donations has been deposited.
The balance will come from talking up the project to community and civic groups and through other strategies, many still in the works, library officials said. The campaign will ramp up around the library groundbreaking, planned for May 31.
It’s all the things inside the library that will give it the personality and functionality it needs to be a great destination for people to learn and discover.
Abby Dozier, library service manager for customer relations
The fundraising will pay for furniture, the latest in computing technology and materials, said Abby Dozier, library service manager for customer relations.
“It’s all the things inside the library that will give it the personality and functionality it needs to be a great destination for people to learn and discover,” she said.
The 80,000-square-foot library, which will be built just north of City Hall at 101 W. Abram St., will replace the 63,000-square-foot George W. Hawkes Central Library. Built in 1973 off the east side of City Hall, the Central Library was closed in December 2014 and was demolished to make room for a $40 million mixed-use development.
The old building had structural problems, and despite recent renovations the program and technology needs of its patrons continued to outgrow it.
“With the previous building, we couldn’t add additional computers,” said Yoko Matsumoto, the city’s new library services director.
The new George W. Hawkes Central Library, an 80,000-square-foot, three-story building, will feature much more space than the old building and will make better use of it, including a dividable multipurpose room with a catering kitchen and a capacity of 124 people, 10 group study rooms, a boardroom, an adult literacy classroom, a conference room, a quiet reading room and other nooks.
The new three-story library, which will carry the Hawkes name, will feature much more space and better use of it, including a dividable multipurpose room with a catering kitchen and a capacity of 124 people, 10 group study rooms, a boardroom, an adult literacy classroom, a conference room, a quiet reading room and other nooks.
The old library had a community room and a few small study rooms.
“The space is key — so many different spaces,” Matsumoto said. “It’s going to be more than a library, because with all the development happening in the downtown, the library is going to support many of the needs of people living downtown.”
The new library will have about 200,000 print and audio/visual resources. It will have 187 computers, compared with 115 at the old library, as well as a larger area with computers dedicated to genealogy and local history research.
Friends of the Arlington Public Library will have a permanent space there to sell used books, the group’s key money-raiser for the libraries.
I want to paint a picture of what modern library services are in the community. We’re not going away from books, but I feel that the library has so many layers that we offer the community, and a lot of people might not know that.
Yoko Matsumoto, new library services director
Other features include:
- Two third-floor green spaces, one for decoration and the other accessible by the public for reading and gathering.
- Larger zoned areas for children and teen services.
- Literacy and workforce development space for study and tutoring.
- Digital arts and tech-learning labs.
- Outdoor reading and gathering areas.
“I want to paint a picture of what modern library services are in the community,” Matsumoto said. It’s not just a place to read quietly or be shushed anymore, she said. “We’re not going away from books, but I feel that the library has so many layers that we offer the community, and a lot of people might not know that.”
Donations to the Arlington Central Library capital campaign can be made online at www.arlingtonlibrary.org/dream-central or at any branch library. Detailed plans also can be viewed on the website.