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18330 Montgomery Village Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20879
Whitman, Requardt and Assoc. LLP
Henley Construction Company Inc.
Montgomery County Government
Department of General Services
Division of Building Design and Construction
Project ManagerMariam Zarif (240) 777-6012
Project Status: Grand Opening!
The newly-renovated and re-designed, 21st-century Gaithersburg Library re-opened January 4, 2014 with an official ribbon-cutting, special programs, musical entertainment and a large turnout from the community.
Local officials participating in the Grand Re-opening were County Executive Ike Leggett; County Council President and Lead for Libraries (on the Health and Human Services sub-committee) Craig Rice; Council vice president George Leventhal and Councilmember Phil Andrews (Dist. 3); Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz; Department of General Services Director David Dise; Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) Director Parker Hamilton; and Gaithersburg Branch Manager Kay Bowman. The State Division of Library Development and Services was represented by State Librarian Irene Padilla, and the Gaithersburg Library Advisory Committee was represented by Chairman Christopher Dentel.
Leggett said, “Although, the Gaithersburg Library is more than 30 years old, it is now a 21st-century library that offers new kinds of services for job seekers, new Americans, students, seniors and young children. It will also be a hub for community life, where residents can connect with each other face-to-face or connect with people and resources on the other side of the world.”
“As Lead for Libraries, it is exciting when we open a new library that represents so much to a community,” said Rice. “Our libraries are community hubs, areas for research, and places to allow you to simply relax and read. All of these and more are why libraries are so integral to our community and are what make Montgomery County such a great place to live.”
“We are thankful for all of the hard work that went into this major renovation and expansion of the Gaithersburg Library,” said Mayor Katz. “With the efforts of Montgomery County, residents of all ages now have access to expanded library resources and services in a vibrant and environmentally friendly facility, enhancing the quality of life in our diverse community.”
MCPL Director Hamilton thanked all “who made this day a reality. We are pleased to offer 21st-century public library services to the residents of Montgomery County through our newly renovated Gaithersburg Branch. I am glad that the community has their library back, and the doors are open, once again, for business.”
Renovate and expand the 33,726 gross square foot structure by adding a total of 27,745 gross square feet on the main level along the front, back, and sides and a partial second floor of approximately 7500 gross square feet that will hold the elevator, meeting rooms, mechanical rooms, storage, and a satellite office of the Gilchrist Center.
The project will include gutting the existing building and replacing the HVAC, lighting, electrical, plumbing, security, fire alarm, communications, roof and windows as well as redesigning the bathrooms to meet accessibility requirements. The library interior space will be reconfigured and program space for children’s services and young adult services will be expanded, as will the area for Internet computers and customer WIFI access.
A computer lab, media preview area, and program room will be added. Storm water management facilities will be added and the parking lot will be repaved. The building will be submitted for LEED Silver accreditation. A satellite office of the Gilchrist Center will be added on the new second floor to provide activities and services (for example legal clinics, citizenship classes, etc.) to the diverse community that uses the library and to function as a central point of contact for referrals to other County and community services. A meeting room that will accommodate 300 users but that can be subdivided in two for smaller groups will be part of the new second floor program space as will a smaller meeting room that will accommodate 100 users. An after hours reserve book locker type exterior pickup has been incorporated into the new design.
The current facility is more than 25 years old and looks dark and crowded because of the tall 84 inch high shelving, which obscures the natural day lighting as well as the fluorescent lighting used in the building. There are not sufficient tables and chairs to accommodate the hundreds of users daily who come to the library to do homework, read, research information, sign up for a computer, print documents and access the library’s online resources. Users sit on the floor and plug laptops into electrical outlets wherever they can find them, creating unsafe walking conditions. Staff works at a circulation desk that has been cited by the Risk Management Division as not meeting ergonomic design standards. Space is hard to monitor because there are no clear sight lines due to the tall shelving and the space arrangement. Temperatures and air circulation are uneven in many sections of the building in both winter and summer causing customer discomfort and complaints. Exterior lighting in the parking lot is inadequate resulting in concerns about safety of staff and customers who leave meetings late at night. Children’s staff competes with meeting room users for bookings for the meeting room because there is no dedicated program room for infant, toddler, and preschool programs.
Renovation of the current space and addition of more space on the main floor and on a new second floor will open up the floor and program space and allow the building to look lighter and more welcoming. Shelving will be lower, with the adult shelving at 66 and 78 inches and children’s at 42 and 66 inches, making it easier for customers to reach print materials. New furniture positioned next to electric outlets will allow customers to more comfortably access the Internet on library loaned as well as their own personal computers. More lounge chairs, reading tables, and reading chairs will give those coming to the library a place to do their work. Additional group study rooms will accommodate the increased number of learners who request a place to work together. A computer lab and increased numbers of Internet PCs in a designated area will reduce the number of customers who have to wait hours to access a library computer. Children will have an expanded space for browsing books and doing homework as well as designated program room connected to the children’s room. Parents and caregivers will have a designated space to park strollers. Staff will work at service desks that are ergonomically designed. The library will be zoned and climate controlled so that temperatures are more even and predictable. Interior and exterior lighting will be upgraded and security cameras installed to monitor activities at all times the library is open (and closed).
The estimated population of the area within a three mile radius of the library is 104,227. There are currently 70,372 cardholders within the 8 zip codes assigned to Gaithersburg. While there will be some increase in users after the library reopens from renovation, the project is intended to better, and more efficiently serve the existing customers rather than expand the number of visitors. Gaithersburg is currently one of the busiest library branches in the Montgomery County Public Libraries System.
Links Of Interest
Division of Building Design and Construction - Department of General Services
11th Floor, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville MD 20850