“What a wonderful gift,” said Library Board of Commissioners Chair Linda Uhler. “This funding allows the Library to provide important enhancements for the public to use and enjoy in their library.” The announcement was made at the Annual Meeting by Foundation Board officers Ken Nirenberg, Linda Estep, and Jan Egeland.
Obsolete infrastructure and responding to the ever-changing needs of user are two areas the Library Board of Commissioners analyzed when it began to consider a major upgrade in 2015. In addition to major infrastructure improvements including HVAC; fire suppression; and plumbing and electrical systems, the renovation plans include updating the interior for greater service efficiency. “People use libraries differently that they did 25, 10, and even two years ago,” said Library Director Margaret Mohundro. “Today and in the future people are using mobile technology and want to see libraries as collaborative learning and multi-purpose gathering spaces. They want print books, technology connected to the world, study areas, program and meeting space, and other features,” she added.
Grant monies from the Foundation are targeted toward state-of-the-art technology including faster WiFi, fully-equipped computer labs, and collaboration and videoconferencing centers. Additionally, Foundation funds will support expanded seating areas and the reading porch; a Think Tank for patrons to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiatives; a new Archives Room with digitization capabilities; children’s storytime space; outdoor plaza areas; and more.
The Sanibel Public Library Foundation provides, supports, and supplements library services of Sanibel and assists in the promotion of reading and literacy. Since its inception in 2006, the Foundation has provided close to $1 million to fund Library Author Series; the annual youth Summer Reading Program; a TeenSpace Room; and technology initiatives including cutting edge computer hardware and software; youth early literacy computers; small business development eBooks; genealogy research stations; children’s eBooks; Sanibel Public Library mobile app; and more.
Holzheimer Bolek + Meehan Architects, the project’s designer and Chris-Tel Construction of Fort Myers are the primary contractors on the project. The reimagined Sanibel Public Library will include both behind-the-scenes infrastructure updates to maximize efficiency and lower operating costs plus functional updates and improvements to both public and staff spaces.
“Thoughtful and generous donors have put us in the position of being able to support Your Library Reimagined activities with the $250,000 grant,” said Ken Nirenberg, president of the Sanibel Public Library Foundation, who is a previous winner of the Southwest Florida Library Advocate of the Year award.
These improvements include: new, larger windows to maximize the natural light and stunning views; four new study rooms; an enhanced browsing experience with more material displays; digital signage; two computer labs; a flexible Maker Space; mobile shelving and furniture that allows for flexible arrangements to host large events; updated spaces for Children and Teens; and an expanded outdoor porch plus revived outdoor courtyard space.
The interior design palette of Sanibel Public Library is inspired by the natural surroundings of the island as well enhancing the existing architectural elements of the building. The flooring materials incorporate layers of varying blues you would see at the shoreline as well as varied textures representing water transitioning to sand and shells along the beach. Contrasts of warm woods and crisp white beach stones with layered shell textures and resins with natural imbedded materials will enhance the furniture and carry the natural island inspiration throughout the Library. The Children and Teen spaces will feature brighter colors inspired by a combination of the fish swimming underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, and the colorful shells you find during a beach walk at sunset. Conceptual designs can be found on the Library’s website at sanlib.org on the Your Library Reimagined page.
For more information about the Foundation or to make a donation, call the Library at (239) 472-2483.