$11 million in upgrades planned for Cole and Dove libraries

$11 million in upgrades planned for Cole and Dove libraries
The Georgina Cole Library is 48 years old and will be the first to undergo maintenance and upgrades as part of an $11 million renovation. Construction will begin in September and likely last until next January. Courtesy rendering

CARLSBAD — The plans to update the Dove and Georgina Cole Library are firming up.

The City Council approved plans presented by Group 4 Architecture Tuesday night.

The city is spending $11.6 million to upgrade the two libraries.

Staff expects construction on the Cole Library to begin in September and last until next January.

Once the Cole Library is complete, construction on the Dove Library will begin, likely lasting until next May.

The two libraries will never be closed at the same time, said Carlsbad Civic Projects Manager Patrick McGarry.

Library and Cultural Arts Director Heather Pizzuto told the council the goals of the upgrades include creating flexible spaces for current and future needs, improving access to services and information through technology upgrades and general maintenance.

“Modernizing our libraries is going to ensure they remain as relevant, well used and vital to the community as they are today,” Pizzuto said.

The Cole Library will get a new elevator, new paint and improved ADA accessibility.

“Moving the elevator from it’s current position in the center of the building to the perimeter improves some of the interior functionality, simplifies construction and creates a new focal point at the library,” Group 4 Architect Jonathan Hartman said.

Windows will be added throughout the top of the building so more sunlight will be let in.

A permanent Friends of the Library Bookstore is also going in.

Proceeds from the Friends of the Library fund library programs, like the popular Summer Reading Program.

A teen space is planned for where the service desk is currently.

In order to provide “acoustic separation” from the teens and the main library, sliding glass doors will be placed surrounding the alcove, Hartman said.

Another addition is group study rooms, which can be reserved by everyone.

“It’s not uncommon to see businessmen conducting meetings in these rooms in other facilities throughout the county,” Hartman said.

At the Dove Library, the focus is on creating a community living room space in the center and “really transforming the space into a nexus and crossroads,” said Hartman.

Additional seating will be added and a cafe is planned for the area currently occupied by the Friends of the Library Bookstore.

Hartman collaborated with staff from the bookstore to find a suitable new location, which will be in the front southern corner near the entrance.

There are also plans to convert a current storage space on the second floor into a technology lab, with versatile learning spaces, which can be changed for future technology, as needed.

“Being able to find new and more efficient ways to utilize the existing footprint for patron benefit is always one of our goals and we’re really excited to be able to offer several hundred more square feet to the patrons,” Hartman said.

Study rooms are going to be added on the second floor.

The Schulman Auditorium is also getting an upgrade.

The stage will be built higher from 7 inches to 27 inches, which helps with visibility.

Currently, there is an analog and digital hybrid mix of technology. After the upgrade, it will be all-digital.

Some plans are still being developed, including the backside of the Dove Library, which Hartman called “inglorious.” They hope to turn it into a patio.

Staff will choose a general contractor and construction management firm and come to council for approval in June.

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