There are 5 key reasons:
Design: Our current Library was designed for books and materials. Libraries of today and tomorrow are designed for people. In addition to print and digital resources, the new Main Library will be flexible to meet demand for public co-working, gatherings, and specialized use.
Catalyst: The new Library will be an anchor element of the North Tryon Vision Plan and a catalyst for further development.
Infrastructure: Currently insufficient for today’s technology. Our current Main Library was built in 1956 and expanded in the 1980s.
Efficiency: By relocating operational functions to an offsite service center, the uptown location can maximize public-facing space.
Cost: A comparison of new construction and renovation costs by Rodgers Builders determined new construction is most cost-effective. The corner of Sixth and Tryon Streets has been home to a Library for over a century – the location is historically significant, but the current building is not.
And – the residents, uptown working population and visitors to this region deserve a welcoming, inclusive destination that inspires curiosity and facilitates connection and participation by all.
The new Main Library will be a bustling hub of community, with programs and services that emphasize three focus areas: strengthening public engagement, supporting economic opportunity, and connecting community resources. It will also continue to offer traditional library services and materials.
Facility highlights include a Media Lab for creating and editing community stories, Immersion Theaters, New Resident Welcome Center, Innovation Hub, Opportunity Center, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room and special collections, Data Visualization Lab and Community Data Portal, event space, café, and public meeting and gathering spaces.
The new Main Library will be a tech-forward, civic destination equipped to meet evolving community needs. Main Library will transform:
A lending library and repository for books
A knowledge center
A space for quiet contemplation and study
A high-energy, adaptable space supporting community
Technology as a tool
Passive community partner
Intentional partner and facilitator
Library- and community-led programming
Traditional librarian professionals
Mix of librarians and specialized staff
Ad hoc access to Library space and resources
Mission-aligned access to Library space, resources and talent
Yes! The new Main Library will balance space for the collection and space for people.
It will maintain a physical collection of the materials most often requested, special collections and periodicals.
When ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center opened in 2005, the children’s department at Main Library moved 2 blocks away to the award-winning 102,000 square foot facility. Families are welcome at both facilities and Main Library will offer intergenerational programming. The majority of collections and programs for children will be at ImaginOn, and the majority of collections and programs for young adults and adults will be at Main Library. Teens will find resources in both locations and naturally transition between the two as they grow.
Current plans for the area include public parking.
To maximize public space in the new Main Library many behind-the-scenes functions, such as shipping and receiving, will move to an offsite service center. Mecklenburg County has provided funding for the renovation of a nearby building for this purpose.