LIBRARY DESIGN CANDIDATE: HONOR THE PAST, LOOK TO THE FUTURE

Posted 1 year ago

By John Axtell

Chadron Public LibraryThe Chadron library board last night heard from the first of the 3 architectural firms being considered to design a planned expansion and renovation of the city’s century-old Carnegie Library.

Dennis Humphries and Marth Runkle of Humphries Poli Architects of Denver told the board and an audience of about a dozen that their firm has built or renovated 64 libraries, including 5 Carnegie libraries, with a basic philosophy of honoring the legacy of the past while looking toward the future.

Humphries says a key part of that is what he calls the “mindbreaking process”…an expanded version of thinking outside the box that gets local residents involved in planning facilities that will serve future generations.

Humphries says his firm operates under 4 guiding principles: ennoble the site, inspire the participants, sustain the resources, and bring joy to the users.

Ennobling the site involves taking the existing location and building and making them better…”make it shine and sparkle” as part of an overall project.

Inspiring the participants means getting everyone who is involved…from the architects to the library staff to library supporters…to want to “reach higher” for the best project possible.

Humphries says sustaining the resources doesn’t focus on just the cost of a project, but operating and maintenance costs as well so that the building will continue to “shine and sparkle” throughout its life.

Bringing joy to the users is the firm’s way of describing the way that a library, “the most important building in a community” to Humphries, provides its patrons with every access to knowledge that they could have anywhere else in the world.

Library board member Drew Petersen, who hosted the presentation, says he was generally pleased with the turnout and the participation…which include the board and audience being given sticky notes to put their desires for the library project on various topic sheets.

While the Library Board runs the library, the Chadron Public Library Foundation is its endowment and fundraising arm. Petersen says the Foundation board will be meeting with Humphries and Runkle to get a better idea of how their firm would be involved with fundraising and financing for the project.

The second of the 3 firms…Geiger Architecture of Rapid City…makes its pitch tonight at 6:00 at city hall. The presentation can be viewed from home on Great Plains Cable Channel 19. The final firm…BVH (Bahr Vermeer Haecker) of Lincoln…will be in Thursday.

The library board, which wants a lot of post-presentation feedback from the public, plans to make its choice among the 3 firms at its next meeting next month.