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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baldwin Library Presentation of Proposed Building Plans by Fanning Howey and Victor Saroki.

Clicking on the red link above will produce the full 41 page Power Point  presentation of the two proposed renovation plans the Baldwin Library is considering. With big type and big pictures, intended  for an audience in the back of a big room, it read faster than  "41 pages" sounds. The striking visual material makes it easy to see the concepts at a glance.  On Tuesday we presented a words only version from the Library Board Meeting Agenda Packet.. Now you may see the whole presentation in color.Here  are  are some of the highlights.
 First you may wonder how the Baldwin Library compares to other area libraries. It is the smallest in size with the least number of study rooms. The Bloomfield Township Library is the closest library  in distance and  population size served. The BTPL is two times the size and has ten times the number of study rooms. Does that matter ? It depends on how you define the library of the 21st century. This author defines it as a library   that fits in your pocket or purse and can be accessed wherever  the communication towns are. The author's wife prefers the community center aspects of a library.
City of Bloomfield Hills residents  have never had access to a community center like the Baldwin Library. The Bloomfield township library of eight years ago is not the Baldwin Library of  today. Library Director  Doug Koschik defines the Library of the 21st Century as more of a community center than a warehouse of books. He believes  the ever increasing  role of electronic books which take up no space will reduce the need for shelving.  In it's place will be the ever growing need for computer space, study rooms, and group work space.
Fanning  Howey Plan
The first plan the Baldwin Board is considering is the Fanning Howey Plan. It is for the most part an interior only plan that will make the the library more open, inviting, and easy to navigate If adapted it will provide less shelf space than the current layout.  Color pictures in the presentation show crowded conditions  in the Birkerts addition and a complete absence of space in the Youth room. The Fanney Howey Plan will solve that and more at a reasonable cost with with an minimum disruption or services. It is estimated that the the total cost for this plan would cost $2,875,000. This plan would also maintain the the striking exterior architecture of the Birkerts addition .

Detail of  portion of Fanning Howey  Plan. Note expanded  floor space for computers group work space/study rooms.

This plan by the noted Birmingham architectural firm, would go interior and exterior, whole hog. All three levels of the current structure would be enhanced. The Basement would gain a Friends of the Library Gift Shop, and outdoor/ indoor cafe and patio. The latter could be used like the Leelanau County Library in Northport Michigan. The ground level  have two entrances. One on Martin Street and one on Merill. The second  floor would be the most expanded.  In addition to more library space it would provide the possibility of roof gardens and a terrace  overlooking Shain Park for special library and civic functions. The cost of this plan is expected to be "upwards of ten million dollars" and require extensive renovation. It would be funded by a bond issue which would spread the cost over a number of years. It would also increase the interior square footage by a factor of 1.5x. On the outside it would bring the the Martin Street side of the library closer to  Bates. It  would also  make the Merrill Street exterior straight  instead of curved while providing  an arched  portico.
Saroki Proposed Second  Floor
Below are the  Saroki sketches for the exterior. The mono colored ones represent the current structure. The colored ones are what is being proposed

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