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21st Century Library FAQ

How did PPLD decide to move to this building?

How will this new library impact patrons of PPLD?

What is the impact on PPLD resources?

Where is the new building located?

How will contractors and other entities involved in the project be selected?

Why does PPLD need more space when fewer and fewer people are reading books?

If government entities are struggling, how can PPLD afford to finance a building?

When can we expect the new library to open and other changes to occur?


Q. How did PPLD decide to move to this building?


A. On November 29, 2011, PPLD’s Board of Trustees voted to purchase a new facility for the expansion of library services. The decision came after an extensive period of review and planning related to the growth of the District, changes in library service delivery, and concerns about sustainability.

The building, located near the Chapel Hills Mall, has 112,883 square feet of space (a little less than twice the size of East Library), two loading docks, and excellent access to north-south and east-west traffic arteries.

The preliminary contract price for the facility is $3.74 million, approximately $33 per square foot.

This compares favorably with the estimated cost to construct a new library facility of about $250 per square foot. A building of this size would have cost the District $28 million to build. PPLD has a 90-day (cancelable) grace period to execute a due diligence evaluation of the property. This purchase will increase the District’s total square footage by almost 50 percent without any new debt to the residents of El Paso County.

The District is using fund balance and the current operating budget to fund the purchase of this facility. There is no debt, and no taxpayer dollars will be used for interest expense. There will be some renovation and repair costs, and the District has money set aside in the budget to cover such costs.


Q. How will this new library impact patrons of PPLD?


A. Much of the preliminary work on this initiative focused on community needs as identified through the sustainable facilities planning process. Numerous community needs will be addressed by this initiative:

  • ACCESS - Generational Services and Targeted Constituencies: Use of services and resources for children at the Briargate Library continues to grow at an astronomical pace. The relocation of the library to the new facility will improve access to vital elements of this service, including increased program space, a larger collection of materials, broader homework support, and additional computers.
  • ACCESS - Business and Professional Services: The Creative Computer Commons is being designed with the small business entrepreneur in mind. It will offer access to the latest in software advances for business, “hotelling” and classroom space, a business center, and resources for growing and managing a business enterprise.
  • ECONOMIC DRIVER - Economic Development: The Creative Computer Commons will benefit a larger audience than just small business owners. The software and service elements of the center will add educational capital to the region. Individuals will be able to acquire new skills and use existing skills in stations throughout the center, improving productivity and keeping them on par with peers in other communities.
  • EDUCATION - Literacy and ESL: PPLD's commitment to early literacy and family-based literacy blend well with this initiative, which will provide increased space for the types of service and collaboration that reach families with young children. Programs in redesigned spaces will emphasize the role of caregivers and parents as teachers. The spaces themselves will be welcoming and easy to navigate - filled with toys, books, sounds, colors - especially for families not traditionally engaged with the public library.
  • EDUCATION - Homeschooling/Homework Center: While the District already reaches the local Homeschool population, this initiative will allow for the development of even greater service to this group, particularly at East Library. Collaboration with public schools and other organizations in the community will allow PPLD to bring in more hands-on learning opportunities for Homeschool families and those seeking homework assistance.
  • PUBLIC FORUM - Civic Engagement: The new facility will house the District's greatest access to meeting space to date, equipping spaces with the latest technology to open up opportunities for bigger and more interactive community events. Many civic activities traditionally held in the downtown area will now reach individuals living in more northern segments of the community as well.


Q. What is the impact on PPLD resources?


A. Space and Services
The leadership of PPLD has spent two years reviewing facilities and identifying community needs, developing feasible and sustainable utilization parameters, and exploring trends and best practices. Plans for public use of the new space include:

Function Est. sq ft
Briargate Community Library relocation 35,000
Creative Computer Commons 35,000
Collection Management 15,000
Retail Space (Friends, Gift Shop, Café) 1,000-2,000
Auditorium/Community Rooms 8,000

Staffing
Positions at the new facility, and in reorganized spaces at other libraries, will take on specialized roles in response to changing service delivery; special technological positions, family service positions, and business skills positions will be developed as well. Adapting in this way will help PPLD maintain its excellence in customer service while stretching its scope of service.

Repurposing of Existing Facilities
Space will be created in other District facilities as a result of this initiative: East Library and Penrose Library. Repurposing efforts include:

  • Consolidating computer access at East Library, coupled with study room service and other business- and technology-related offerings.
  • Repurposing existing space at East Library to accommodate requests for quiet reading space.
  • Repurposing video production space at East Library to house services for children.
  • Spreading out and opening up stacks of materials on the main levels of East and Penrose Libraries to allow for better use of space and integrating the natural environment surrounding the building.
  • Redesigning public space, circulation space, and book sale space at East and Penrose libraries. New designs would promote efficiency and navigability for patrons.
  • Providing dedicated space for Teen services at Penrose Library.


Q. Where is the new building located?


A. The facility is located at 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, on the corner of Chapel Hills Drive and Jamboree Drive. It has excellent access to both north-south and east-west arteries. It is also located on a public bus line, an important criterion for building selection.


Q. How will contractors and other entities involved in the project be selected?


A. PPLD will issue a Request for Proposal for each phase of the project. Selection from received proposals will be undertaken by both the PPLD Board of Trustees and Administrative staff.


Q. Why does PPLD need more space when fewer and fewer people are reading books?


A. There are several reasons that PPLD has been seeking additional space for expansion. Most importantly, there are geographic sections of the Library's service district that are underserved or not served by a library facility. The northern and eastern parts of the county are among the most heavily populated regions requiring improved library access. There are nearly 90,000 people living within a five-mile radius of the site chosen for this initiative. PPLD has not been able to meet the library needs of this population to date.

PPLD has seen increased utilization of its materials annually for decades, a trend that has actually grown at an even greater rate over the last 3 years. Public libraries trend toward greater use during periods of economic hardship, and PPLD has experienced double-digit growth in both checkouts from and visits to its locations. While the District is also feeling budgetary constraints, it recognizes this is an unprecedented opportunity to spread the reach of its service and help address growing need.

Finally, while there is an undeniable trend toward virtual materials resulting in the need for less physical shelf space, PPLD will need to maintain its collection of print materials. Public libraries play an important role in providing both virtual and traditional materials to their communities. While the proportions of the different collection formats will continue to change, they are both critical to library service in our community. In addition, the library plays other roles that require ever-increasing square footage. These include the provision of space for public computers, public meeting space, and programming space.

PPLD is also on the forefront of providing space for the creation of content, a trend that extends technology access for a wide variety of creative activities.


Q. If government entities are struggling, how can PPLD afford to finance a building?


A. PPLD is a special taxing district, and as such is separate from the county and city governments in the region. PPLD has operated as a "pay as you go" entity for more than a decade. It will incur no debt in undertaking this project and currently maintains no debt. This does not mean that there is a surplus of funding; numerous initiatives have been postponed or put on hiatus in order to stretch resources for this project. Fundraising will also be critical to completing all work.

Expanding need for library service, an increasing population base, and the advent of new technologies require that PPLD grow in order to maintain the level of service our community expects. PPLD consistently ranks exceptionally high among public libraries in the country because of high utilization by its patrons and its commitment to providing relevant service in a cost-effective manner.


Q. When can we expect the new library to open and other changes to occur?

Library 21c is slated to open to the public in June 2014. Work will then begin on East and Penrose Libraries, with completion slated in 2015. Changes will then move out to community libraries throughout the District beginning 2016.


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Pikes Peak Library District
P.O. Box 1579
Colorado Springs, CO 80901
(719) 531-6333