Edith Abbott Memorial Library Renovation

Edith Abbott Memorial Library Renovation

The Clark Enersen Partners was selected to design a renovation of the Edith Abbott Memorial Library which was constructed in 1974 and later expanded in 2007 to 49,000 square feet. The project consisted of an interior renovation as well as updated parking and a new library entrance and plaza. The safety of their patrons and visitors was an important consideration, which helped influence a redesigned entrance plaza that closed off through-traffic between the parking lot and library entrance. The new entrance extends into the plaza, and drop-off areas were installed on both sides of the plaza. The Library's important civic nature is recognized through the purchase of a new and significant art piece that is placed in the center berm of the new entrance plaza which is surrounded by durable outdoor seating. The Library's "Legacy of Literature" sculpture and Mark Twain bench is also part of the entrance plaza. Their high visibility location in the plaza means that these pieces of public art will be enjoyed not only by library visitors but by approximately 20,000 motorists who pass by the library each month. 

As part of the new plaza, an outdoor Children's Discovery Center was also designed. This new area is set against the west glass wall of the Meeting Commons/Lobby. Formerly an outdoor seating area, this space was redesigned to provide programming space for children and parents. 

Interior renovation work included 16,900 square feet of space, and new expandable meeting spaces—large enough to hold 150 people and equipped with videoconferencing technology; lobby modifications with a new vestibule; study rooms; teen collection space; office and administration space; single-user restrooms; and a makerspace room that is used for a variety of children's STEAM programming opportunities provided in conjunction with Grand Island Public Schools and other community agencies and organizations. 

The Makerspace offers high-tech equipment and devices such as 3-D printers, wood and vinyl carving equipment, sewing and embroidery machines, circuitry, coding kits, digital media software and equipment, and more. This area is especially useful for middle and high school students in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning. The public library adds an A for Arts making this STEAM learning. 

Last, but not least, new electrical, lighting, plumbing, and HVAC systems were seamlessly integrated into the overall design, including a new roof top air handling unit to serve a portion of the building.