- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln City Library officials and their consultants are seeking imaginative ideas for the city’s new downtown library.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports (https://bit.ly/2kE1PWs0 ) that consultants from Godfrey’s Associates will talk with Lincoln residents about library ideas at town hall meetings Thursday and Friday. Library director Pat Leach will hold five additional community meetings next week and in early March.

Their goal: a library that is uniquely Lincoln and will serve residents for decades.

A 2003 study determined that city needs had outgrown the Bennett Martin Library downtown. And a 2012 study concluded it would be smarter to build a new library on the old Pershing Center site rather than renovate Bennett Martin.

The consultants will use residents’ input to create a building program document that will outline what should be in the new downtown library and how much space each activity would need, Leach said. After approval by the library board, the document will be used to raise money from private donors and perhaps a voter-approved bond.

Consultant Brad Waters with Godfrey’s Associates said libraries have become community centers where people gather and exchange ideas, not just places to read and find books.

For example, Waters said, one Colorado library system has created studio space for local artists in each library branch. The artists then help defray the rental costs by doing workshops or teaching classes in the libraries.

“One of the things we preach is that the opportunity to build a central library is very rare. It comes along once or twice a century,” Waters said. “We want to take care and be thoughtful in design.”

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com


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