It has been 27 years since our library has been upgraded. In that time, the population of Madison has greatly outstripped our ability to meet the needs of the community whose library usage is consistently above the state average and continues to grow. At 17,144 square feet for a population of 18,297, the current building is significantly under the State Library Space Planning Guidelines of 1.50 square feet per capita. We are currently at 0.9 square feet per capita, or 10,301 square feet below the guideline. The Futures initiative will fund a 37,189-square-foot library building and improvements designed to answer the following challenges for:
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES: Our children’s services area does not meet current standards for providing early literacy initiatives and programs, and the space layout is awkward and difficult for parents and staff to supervise young children adequately. Due to lack of floor space, bookshelves in this area are too high for access by our young patrons. There is no separate program room or area for story time.
TEENS: The teen department occupies an open, 640-square-foot section of the adult department lacking adequate space for work/study groups and the young adult collection. The space can only accommodate two wireless computers for teens.
ADULTS: The lack of physical space for our adult users results in noise issues as it does not separate quiet areas from group study areas. Lack of floor space limits use of lower and display shelving that would allow easier access to books and materials. Holding children’s programs in the community room limits use for adult programs.
COMMUNITY: We have one basement-level, windowless community room that seats 75 and one smaller meeting room that seats 20 to accommodate (in FY 2015-2016) 566 library programs and 420 meetings held by outside community groups.
ACCESS: Currently, the library does not have onsite parking, which creates access issues for our library users, particularly those with mobility issues or those with young children who must cross a busy street and traverse a sloped walkway to enter the building.
STAFF: Our administrative work spaces are located in a 939-square-foot interior basement area with poor air circulation and emergency access/exits. Eight staff members including the Library Director must share this space along with the library’s computer server and administrative supply storage.